This pie is a classic Italian Easter tradition going back centuries. Today, it is available in most good Italian bakeries and many non-Italian ones as well. Homemade is so very much better than anything store-bought.

Pastiera is a dry pie, pairing well with espresso or coffee, tea or after-dinner cordials. It has a deep, rich flavor with a strong citrus taste that’s tempered by the grain. The crust is rather like a good cookie; dense yet strong. A thin slice is usually sufficient for anyone, and seconds are always an option.

Unlike many other pastries, Pastiera isn’t overpowering in its sweetness, giving the palate a glorious explosion of flavor to enjoy. Some serve this plain, others with a scoop of ice cream, but we prefer to put a bowl of fruit and nuts on the table, allowing guests to pair things like grapes, oranges, walnuts or hazelnuts with this delicious treat.

Crust:
2 Cups flour
1/3 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 Cup milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla

To Make Crust:
Cut dry ingredients together. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Dough will be soft, but not sticky.

If sticky, adjust by adding flour a teaspoon at a time while mixing. Divide dough in half and roll.

Place in ungreased 9″ pie pan. Set aside.

Filling
2 pounds ricotta
4 eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons grated orange rind
2 Tablespoons Triple Sec Liqueur, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1-1/4 Cups cooked white wheat (approximately 3/4 pound wheat before cooking)

To Make Filling:
Whip ricotta cheese and eggs until creamy. Add remaining ingredients and mix at medium speed until well blended.

Fill pie pans and bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Pies will puff up and crack slightly. Bake until golden brown. After they cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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