This is a Neapolitan specialty and is traditionally made over Easter.
For the Short Pastry: 1 cup, 4 tbs. flour
5 oz. butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 egg yolks
For the Filling: 1 cup whole-wheat grain
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 qts. milk
3 oz. candied orange and lemon peel
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch vanilla
1 lemon rind
2 cups ricotta
1 cup sugar
1 tbs. orange-flower water
1 oz. butter
1 oz. confectioner’s sugar
How to make the Easter Cheese and Grain Pie:
Knead the flour, butter, sugar and eggs together quickly. Make a ball of the dough and let rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
How to make the filling: soak the grain for about a week, changing the water every day. Drain and boil with fresh water for 15 min. Drain and put back in the pot with milk, lemon rind, cinnamon, vanilla, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbs. of sugar. Bring to a boil, lower and cook over low heat until the milk is absorbed. Remove and discard the lemon rind.
Sift the ricotta into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the 2 yolks, the whole-wheat grain, diced candied fruits, grated lemon peel, and the orange-flower water. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
Grease a 12-in. baking pan with butter and dust with sugar. Line with 3/4 of the pastry. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into strips. Arrange the strips over the filling in a lattice design. Brush the strips of dough with egg yolk. Heat the oven to 375°F and bake the cake for 1 1/2 hours, until the filling has set and the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar before serving the pastiera napoletana.
The pastiera napoletanais best if eaten a day after it is cooked, and it keeps in the refrigerator for a week. In Italy, grain is sold pre-cooked and softened, sealed in plastic bags.
Regional recipe from Campania