Golossary: Torta Pastiera

Torta pastiera traditional italian easter dessert from naples
The classic Torta Pastiera easter dessert from Naples

This Neapolitan Easter pie has become so well loved it is now available year around, and you will see it during the Easter season in pasticcerias throughout the boot. Don’t let it pass you by. It’s beguiling aromas of orange flower captivate, and could easily sweep you away to an exotic Moroccan oasis. A sweet, crumbly cookie crust holds that dense aromatic interior. The filling is composed of fresh ricotta, candied citrus, orange or lemon peel, plump boiled wheat grains and a dash of that evocative orange flower water. Don’t let the candied fruit scare you; it plays nice, an unobtrusive supporting actor enhancing the citrus aromas. Consider it a variation of rice pudding, the wheat grains becoming soft and tender, plump with sweet boiled milk; they maintain a bit of texture but yield to the tooth. Creamy ricotta, rather than cream or custard, rounds out the flavors, creating a smooth background for all the other ingredients.

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