Maria's Easter (Wheat) Pie/"Pastiera di Grano"

Recipe by Dee514
READY IN: 27hrs




  • ***PreparingThe Wheat: If"soaked" or"precooked" wheat is not available, dry wheat may be used.
  • Cover the dry wheat with cold water (water should be about 2 inches over the wheat) and boil it for 15 minutes or until the wheat berries crack open.
  • Remove pan from heat and allow wheat to soak for a full 24 hours.
  • After soaking, drain well before using in steps#17-19.
  • If"soaked"/"precooked" wheat is used, add the wheat to a pan of boiling water and cook it for about 5-10 minutes (most of the wheat berries should be open and they should be chewy but tender).
  • Drain well, let cool and use for steps#17-19.
  • Crust: Mix flour, sugar and lemon peel together in a bowl.
  • Work butter into flour using your fingers (until it is the size of peas).
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon.
  • Knead the dough lightly until it holds together well and clears the bowl.
  • Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill it for about 1/2- 1 hour before using.
  • Cream: Fill the bottom of a double boiler with enough water so that its insert doesn't quite touch the water; bring the water to a boil.
  • Mix the whole milk, egg yolks, sugar, flour, lemon peel and citron together in the insert of the double boiler which has been set in to the bottom pan.
  • Cook the"cream," stirring constantly until it has thickened and is the consistency of a thick pudding (about 20-30 minutes).
  • Remove the insert from the boiling water and set aside to allow the"cream" to cool, stir occasionally to keep a skin from forming.
  • Note: I sometimes put the insert pan with the"cream" mixture into a bowl of very cold water, to help it cool down faster, don't forget to stir it.
  • Wheat: Add the (cooked, soaked, well drained) wheat to a saucepan with the milk and butter.
  • Cook the wheat mixture, stirring occasionally until the butter melts, and mixture starts to boil; boil for 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Prepare Pans: On a lightly floured board, roll out the chilled dough to about 1/8 inch thick and line the bottom and sides of two lightly buttered 9-inch glass cake pans.
  • Leave a 1/2 inch overhang of dough if you are going to use the lattice top.
  • If not using the lattice, trim the overhang to 1/4 inch.
  • Re-roll scraps and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips to use as a lattice top for the pie.
  • (If you prefer, the lattice can be omitted.) Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Ricotta Filling: Mix ricotta, eggs, sugar and lemon peel together in a large bowl.
  • Beat mixture by hand, with a wooden spoon, until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the"cream" mixture and the wheat mixture to the ricotta filling, stirring until all is well blended.
  • Pour or ladle the filling into prepared pans (to within 1/4 inch of the top of the pan).
  • For The Lattice: place the strips of dough across the filling, spaced about 1 inch apart (at right angles) forming a lattice top.
  • Fold the 1/2 inch overhang over the edges of the lattice and flute well.
  • If not making the lattice top, fold the 1/4 inch overhang on to itself, and lightly flute.
  • Bake pies in a preheated 350°F oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the bottom of the crust is light brown, the center is set, and the top of the pies are golden.
  • Turn off oven and let the pies cool for an hour in the oven with the oven door slightly (about 2 inches) ajar.
  • Remove pies from oven and place on a wire rack.
  • When completely cooled, cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill until serving.
  • If you like, you can give the pie tops a light sprinkle of powdered sugar before serving.
  • Note: Its best to served this pie directly from the pan, as trying to plate the whole pie is more trouble than its worth, and causes breakage.