Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Pie, or Pastiera Di Grano

I had thoughts of elegant pictures, and a post rich in history to accompany my recipe today. But as the evening progressed, I find myself giving in to the aches and pains of today's double workout.

Our daily work out is at 9:30 a.m., and then one at 3:00 p.m. for those in our Get Fit Challenge, where we go above and beyond what our morning class does. OMG... I am a hurtin' girl. It hurts to type. It hurts to sit. It hurts to walk. It hurt to stir the batter in my pan today! I seriously think my friend, and instructor, Kelly, giggles like crazy when she plans these routines, because she loves hearing us moan as we do them. And we do. But I really wanted to share this with you before the weekend, so if you'll pardon my lack of holiday history, I think you'll enjoy this recipe none the less. I'd also normally post the prettiest of lattice crusts, but I was seriously, so sore, that I couldn't get the strips to cooperate with me, so that will explain the "slapped together" look.

To have an Easter without and Easter Pie, or Pastiera Di Grano as it is also known, in an Italian family, is a rare one. When I was younger, I had it with rice rather than wheat, as it was much quicker to assemble that way. What I hear from other's is that the wheat grain wasn't available in many areas, necessitating the use of rice or barley. It's delicious though, whichever grain is used. I prefer to buy the hulled grain myself, soak, and cook, a few days before I make the pie. The pie also calls for the use of Orange Blossom Water, which if you can't find, can use Orange Extract, or Orange Oil in a pinch.

Easter Pie, or Pastiera Di Grano

Pasta Frolla (crust)

2 c AP flour
1/2 c sugar
zest of 1 lemon
12 Tbs unsalted butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 Tbs milk

Ricotta filling

1/2 c hulled wheat (or prepared jarred or canned wheat grain from an Italian specialty store),
with enough water to cover wheat in pan
1 c whole milk
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 c sugar
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
2 c whole milk ricotta cheese
5 egg yolks
1- 1/2 Tbs Orange Blossom Water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c candied Citron, chopped
4 egg whites
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Sift together the flour and sugar. Add in the lemon zest. With pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the butter until it is like the size of peas. Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks and milk. Gradually mix the flour into the egg and milk, just until combined. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.

In 2 qt saucepan add wheat with enough water to cover top. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, uncovered, until grains are tender, and water is mostly gone. Then add milk, salt, 2 Tbs sugar (of the 2/3 c), and the zest of both the lemon and the orange. Bring to almost a boil, then let simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Let cool.

Mix the ricotta with the rest of the sugar. Beat in the egg yolks, cooled grain mixture, Orange Blossom Water, and cinnamon. Add in the chopped Citron. In another bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff. Fold into the ricotta mixture.

Butter and flour a 9" springform pan. Take 2/3 of the crust and roll out big enough to cover the bottom and sides of pan. Pour in the filling, and smooth. With the remaining dough, roll out and cut into 3/4" strips, and weave into a lattice top crust. Bake at 350 for about 50- 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and then gently run knife around edge of pan. Un-latch springform pan and remove outer pan. Let cool completely on wire rack before serving. Dust with confectioners sugar just prior to serving.

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RecipeGirl said...

I want to make an Easter Pie!! Next year for sure. I'm making cannoli next weekend :)

Liz said...

Fantastic! Hope you have a great Easter weekend!

Julia said...

I SO know what you're talking about with regard to being sore. My workout was insane this morning - I mean NUTS! -- so much so, that when I got to work and was ready to microwave my breakfast, it actually took me a moment to muster the strength to push the button to open the door. (I still love it though!)
Good for you for going 2 times in one day!!! I really admire your dedication!

Question about the pie -- which looks beyond scrumptious btw -- do you know if hulled wheat the same thing as farro?

Spot;-) said...

That's so funny that you posted this cause I just saw it being made on TV! So italian! I'm not sure if I'll have time to make it but I want to. I'm doing a turkey and rack of lamb Sunday so maybe Saturday I can try this.

Patsyk said...

Happy Easter to you and your family!

The Food Hunter said...

I just finished baking my Easter pie. Growing up we always made ours with rice. I can't wait until tomorrow is over. I know I'll be paying for at the gym next week. Have a Happy Easter and let's plan a get together soon.

Peter M said...

Our Italian neighbors send us one over each'em. Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Selba said...

What a nice Easter Pie :)

Sara said...

This looks so good! The wheat makes it so unique too.

Lola said...

I'm here visiting from Theresa of Food Hunter. Your Pastiera is gorgeous, what do you mean "slapped together" look?? It's so pretty I'm actually going to walk over to my kitchen and have a slice right now!
And then end it with a sip of robust red wine for the signature "Primavera in Bocca" (springtime in your mouth) effect. Ever tried it? Amazing flavor combo.

Claudia said...

This looks scrumptious - it is one of my favorite desserts of all time. We have a hard time finding the wheat - for twenty years we've been getting it in NYC whenever someone visits. And there's always some frozen in my mother's freezer.