Italian ricotta and wheat berry tarts

    9 hours 30 min

    A wonderful Easter treat, which originates from Italy, called Pastiera. Wheat berries are cooked until tender, then baked in a shortcrust pastry case with ricotta, crystallised fruit, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and orange zest. It's deliciously moist, creamy and dense.

    14 people made this

    Serves: 2 pies

    • 1.2 litres water
    • 85g wheat berries
    • 6 eggs
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 225g crystallised fruit, roughly chopped
    • 675g ricotta cheese
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
    • 1 tablespoon margarine
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 750g shortcrust pastry
    • 2 tablespoons icing sugar for dusting

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Extra time:8hr chilling  ›  Ready in:9hr30min 

    1. Bring water to the boil in a large saucepan. Pour in wheat berries and allow to boil 40 minutes. As wheat berries are cooking, beat eggs in a large bowl while gradually adding 200g sugar to eggs. Mix in fruit, ricotta, vanilla extract, cinnamon, lemon zest and orange zest.
    2. When wheat berries are ready, drain in a colander and rinse with warm water. Place 150g of cooked wheat berries in a small bowl and mix in margarine and salt. Stir until margarine is melted, then stir wheat mixture into ricotta mixture along with the rest of the cooked wheat berries.
    3. Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas 5.
    4. Line two 23cm quiche dishes with pastry. Cut remaining pastry into strips for tops of tarts. Spoon half of filling into each dish. Cover with pastry strips to form lattice tops. Crimp edges.
    5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Sprinkle each tart with 1 tablespoon sugar and allow to cool at room temperature. Chill overnight before serving. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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    Reviews in English (19)


    My sister and I thought we lost my grandmother's recipe when she died only to find it here. I did not add the candied fruit and baked it in a larger spring form pan for 1 hr. It was perfect!  -  02 Apr 2005  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I made this pie with a few changes. I used a frozen deep dish pie crust with no top, cooked pearl barley instead of wheat berries and added roasted pine nuts to the mix. I also cooked it a little longer than the recipe calls for. It turned out great! Even my italian mother-in-law loved it. Now I can bring the Easter Pie to family gatherings with confidence!  -  06 Apr 2008  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    So glad to see this recipe which is very similar to my grandmother's who was from Naples, Italy. The only thing different that she used to add was chocolate chips. It was her own personal preference. Very nice recipe and tribute to our Italian heritage for the holidays.  -  19 Mar 2011  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)