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The Neapolitan Spring Cake – Pastiera recipe

There are dishes that tradition has always handed down through the symbolic figure of the Mother who is the holder of the ancient recipes, of traditions and family secrets, which have come down to us orally.

As already mentioned in the Christmas 2022 edition, in the area of San Gregorio Armeno, in Napoli, there is the bas-relief of a canephora, that is, of a priestess dedicated to the cult of Demeter. In her right hand the canephora carries a basket and in her left she holds a torch. In fact, in the area there was a college of priestesses of Greek origin, who, due to their power and devotion, were requested as officiants in Rome.
Offerings to the goddess were made at the time of year when the earth is reborn, in Spring.
The cult of the goddess, a pre-Christian cult, originated in Eleusis, and was characterized by ceremonies that included an initiation and a rural myth.
They are rites that recall fertility in the broadest sense.
To honor the Goddess in spring, sumptuous processions were carried out which, as offerings, brought food gifts such as spelled or wheat. From these and other ingredients with a spring flavor, the pastiera was born, specifically as a dessert to celebrate the goddess and the rebirth of the earth with its flowers and fruits.
Despite Christianity, the city of Napoli has always maintained this important celebration of the matriarchy that celebrates and respects nature, therefore mother earth. Let’s celebrate together this Spring!

Pastiera napoletana

Ingredients to prepare the shortcrust pastry:
350 gr (12.3 Oz.) of flour
150 gr (5.2 Oz.) of sugar
150 gr (5.2 Oz.) of lard
4 eggs
vanilla sugar
Salt to taste

The Neapolitan Spring Cake - Pastiera recipe

Ingredients for the filling:
500 gr (17.6 Oz.) of ricotta
400 gr (14.1 Oz.) of sugar
250 gr (8.8 Oz.) of wheat
200 (7.05 Oz.) gr of candied citron
50 gr (1.7 Oz.) of butter
6 eggs
Lemon peel
half liter of milk
1 small bottle of orange blossom water
cinnamon powder
Salt to taste


Soak the grain in water for two days.
Drain it, cover it with water and boil it for about an hour.

Mix the flour with the sugar, the lard, three egg yolks and a pinch of salt.

Work the dough energetically and quickly until it is well homogeneous.

Let the dough rest in a cool, dry place.

After boiling the wheat, remove it from the cooking water put it back in the saucepan.
Add the milk, two lemon zests, a pinch of cinnamon, 50 grams of sugar, a pinch of salt.

Cook over medium heat until the milk is completely reduced.

Remove from the heat let it cool.

In a bowl mix the wheat (without the zest), the sieved ricotta, what’s left of the sugar and the lemon zest. Add the diced citron, a pinch of cinnamon and the orange blossom water.

Add the egg yolks and four whipped egg whites.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of a few millimeters, form a disc of about 30 cm in diameter and place it in a greased pan with butter.
Pour the filling into the pan.

Roll out the leftover dough and form strips.
Arrange the strips of dough, in the shape of a grate, on the surface of the filling and cook the pastiera in a hot oven.

The Neapolitan Spring Cake - Pastiera recipe

It will be ready as soon as it is golden.

Leave to cool.
Once cooled, sprinkle with vanilla sugar and feel the taste of spring!

The Neapolitan Spring Cake - Pastiera recipe