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Neapolitan "Pastiera" (Pastiera Napoletana)

A web-exclusive recipe from Italian Cooking and Living

Chef: Giuliano Matarese

For the dough:
1 pound unbleached all-purpose flour
16 tablespoons butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 ½ pounds fresh ricotta
12 ½ ounces hulled white wheat kernels
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon lard
a pinch of salt
2 ½ ounces "millefiori" extract
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
5 eggs + 1 to brush the dough
2 ½ cups sugar
4 ounces candied fruit, diced

Make the dough: in a bowl, mix dry ingredients. Using your fingers, rub in butter and stir in the egg and vanilla extract. On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth. Then press into a disk and refrigerate for about one hour.

Make the filling: preheat oven at 500° F. Put wheat kernels in a saucepan with milk, lard and pinch of salt and simmer until smooth and soft. Let cool. In the mixer, beat yolks with sugar and vanilla extract. Transfer into a large bowl and add the ricotta sifted through a strainer, the candied fruit, the "millefiori" extract and the wheat kernels at room temperature. Mix well. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold them gently into the mix.

To assemble the cake: on a flowered surface, knead pasta frolla until malleable. Cut off one-third of dough and put it aside. Roll remaining dough into a round and fit into an 11 inch round pan, prepared with parchment paper and butter. Add filling and smooth with a spatula. Roll reserved dough into a 10-by-8-inch rectangle and cut into 10 strips each ¾ inch wide. Paint strips with beaten egg. Place 5 strips on filling in each direction, trimming as necessary to fit, forming a diagonal griddle. Lower the oven temperature to 300° F and bake until crust is browned and filling is set, about 2 hours. Let cool in pan. Carefully invert pie onto a plate, then invert onto another plate. Refrigerate about 1 hour before serving. Serves 8

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