Gennaro & Bertolli with Butter

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Pastiera di Grano / Easter Wheat & Ricotta Tart


12 x servings

400 gr of pre-cooked wheat

120 ml milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

250 gr ricotta cheese

5 egg yolks

200 gr icing sugar

120 gr mixed candied peel

1.5 tablespoons orange-flower water

grated zest of 1/2 orange

2 egg whites

for the sweet shortcrust pastry : (or buy ready-made if short of time)  

400 gr plain flour

3 eggs

100 gr caster sugar

150 gr butter, diced

grated zest of 1 x lemon



First make the pastry.  Sift the flour on a clean work surface and make a well in the middle.  Add the eggs, sugar, butter and half the lemon zest (reserve the rest for the filling) and lightly blend everything together with your fingertips until you have a smooth dough.  Wrap in clingfilm, chill for one hour, then roll out thinly and line a 25 cm round loose-bottomed tart tin.  Place in the fridge until ready to use.  Do not discard the pastry trimmings, shape into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.  Place the wheat, milk, 1 tablespoon of the remaining lemon zest and vanilla extract in a small saucepan, mix well and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the wheat has absorbed all the liquid.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool. 

Mash the ricotta with a fork and beat in the egg yolks until light and fluffy.  Sift the icing sugar and beat until well incorporated, then beat in the candied peel, orange-flower water, the remaining lemon zest and the orange zest.  Stir in the cooled wheat mixture.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Then fold them carefully but thoroughly into the ricotta and wheat mixture.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and pour in the mixture.  Roll out the remaining pastry quite thinly and cut into 2.5 cm strips roughly the length of the cake tin.  Arrange the strips criss-cross over the tart roughly 2.5 cm apart trimming off any excess and pressing the ends against the edge of the pastry case to seal.  Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, until lightly browned but still moist.  Leave to cool, then sift over some icing sugar, if desired.