Pastiera is an Italian dessert from the province of Naples. This is a cake that is traditionally eaten during the Easter period.
It is an Italian “traditional food product”.
Legend says that the siren Partenope, the symbol of the city of Naples, still in the Gulf between Posillipo and Vesuvius, and from there, all springs, she emerged to greet people, rejoicing with songs of joy. Once his voice was so melodious and sweet that all the inhabitants remained fascinated by, and ran towards the sea, moved by the sweetness of the song and words of love that the siren was dedicated to them and, to thank her, seven of the beautiful girls of the villages were loaded to give him gifts of nature; flour, cheese, eggs, wheat berries, orange blossom water, spices and sugar. The siren placed valuable offerings at the feet of the gods, and they met and mingled with the divine arts all the ingredients, forming the first Pastiera, exceeding even the gentle song of the siren.
Because of einkorn wheat or mixed with sweet ricotta cheese, it could come, too, from the bread of farro, called in Latin confarreatio, which gave its name to a wedding ceremony of ancient Rome . Another hypothesis would be its distribution during the period of Constantine the Great, as bread made with honey and milk offered to the catechumens during the Easter to the end of the ceremony of baptism.
In Campania, many cakes have monastic origins. In its current version, the pastiera seems to have been developed in the convent of the church of San Gregorio Armeno with a mixture of ingredients that symbolizes the paschal mystery: eggs symbolize life which is renewed, water is the orange blossom, the spring, ricotta is purity, and wheat grain is the cycle of rebirth.
Pastiera is a stuffed pastry pie of a mixture containing ricotta, candied fruit, sugar, eggs and wheat grains boiled in milk. The dough is crispy while the inside is soft. The aroma and flavor change with spices and flavorings used during preparation. In the classic recipe flavors used are cinnamon, orange flower water, orange peel and vanilla. Today there are many variations of the classic recipe that range from adding custard ingredients in the mixture to white chocolate in the making of the pastry.
The Neapolitan families typically prepare it on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday.