Made with wheat berries and ricotta, Pastiera a taste of old-world tradition.

By Jen Harwell
March 19, 2015
Credit: Allrecipes

If you're from Naples, Italy, then there's a chance you might know a thing or two about Easter Grain Pie, called "Pastiera" in Italian. Made with wheat berries and ricotta, this sweet pillowy pie deserves a space on your Easter table.

How Do You Make Pastiera?

Italian native Alessandra Marseglia, editor for the Italian Allrecipes site, has several tips for making this sweet Easter dessert.

  • First, start early. She recommends making the pie on the Thursday before Easter. "The flavor has to come out," she said. "You need some time for it to rest."
  • Next, cook your wheat berries until they are very soft. The recipe says to boil for 40 minutes, but if your berries still have some bite to them, keep cooking until they are soft and mushy.

If you're lucky enough to live in Naples, Marseglia says you can buy wheat berries in a can or jar specifically for this dessert. Notice how creamy and soft they look? That's what you're aiming for with the wheat berries you're cooking.

Valgri Grano Cotto Per Pastiera

Grano Cotto Per Pastiera

While the wheat berries are cooking, make a pie crust enough for a 9-inch lattice-top pie. On the Allrecipes Italian site, Marseglia recommends Pasta Frolla Morbidissima. You can read it using Google translate, or, use a pie crust recipe on Allrecipes. Try Grandma's Secret Pie Crust for a similar recipe.

  • When you make the filling, Marseglia says to ensure your wheat berries have cooled down to room temperature. Adding them to the egg mixture before they have cooled could cook and "scramble" the eggs. Assemble the filling, and add it to your prepared pie crust. Cover with pastry strips to make the lattice top, and crimp the edges.
  • Bake it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Many reviewers noted this recipe takes an hour to cook. Allow it to cool at room temperature. Refrigerate (uncovered) for at least one night to allow the flavors to develop.

The result? Marseglia says it's a rich and seasonal treat. "It's very intense, but very tasty," she says.

Allrecipes member gobomel said this brought back many memories.

Italian-native and blogger Manuela's recipe for Pastiera Napoletana is a beautiful version of this Easter treat.

Pastiera | Photo by Manuela Zangara via manusmenu

More Recipes for Traditional Easter Pie

• Try Chef John's Ricotta Pie. What's the difference? He doesn't use wheat berries in his version.

• For another version without wheat berries is Ricotta Pie.

• You can also make Easter Pie with rice, instead of wheat berries. Easter Rice Pie and Italian Rice Pie are top-rated and turn out beautifully.

• And finally, for the ambitious bakers, try the version of La Pastiera Napoletana on Allrecipes Italy.

Check out our collection of Easter Dessert Recipes.