Family Favorites

Easter and ​​​​​​​AUNT MAY’S PASTIERRA di GRANO

(Easter Wheat Pie)

This is the way it was written and given to me many years ago.

1 Container (3 Lb) Whole Milk Ricotta, 9 Eggs, 2 ½ Cups Sugar, Cinnamon (powder or oil)

Citron, Orange Peel, 1 oz Orange Flower Water, 1 Tb Vanilla, ½ Lb Cooked Wheat – drained

Beat sugar and eggs well – until the sugar is dissolved. Add, Ricotta, Citron, Cinnamon, Orange Peel, Orange Flower Water, Vanilla and Grain. Pour into pie shell – optional lattice across the top.

Crust – Pasta Frolla

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar (optional)

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ Lb butter

2 ex-large eggs

Add dry ingredients into processor, add butter until resembles cornmeal.  Add eggs (Beat eggs and pour slowly adding 1 drop water into bowl.) until a ball forms.  Let rest 10 minutes. 

Arrange in pie dish. Pour in filling.

325º – 1 hour for Pyrex

350º – 1 hour for metal or other type pans

Aunt May was my husband Charlie’s older sister. She was the original pizza maker, after Grandma of course, and she was a great cook and intuitive baker. I did learn several things from her. 

May and her husband Tony were the first in the family to buy a house in what was then considered very far out in Syosset, Long Island. As a result, they hosted many holiday meals there and it wasn’t unusual to have a gathering of 25 or more on holidays. Everyone helped a little but early on most everything was deliciously prepared by May and Grandma, whom I was fortunate to call Momma. Holiday meals always included a pasta dish, meatballs and sausage, followed by a roast with a generous assortment of vegetables, followed by a fruit bowl and nuts and of course several dessert items.  All enjoyed with Grandpa’s special wine. Always fun and still talked about. We couldn’t all fit at one table, and for years there always was a kiddie table as the family grew. Here is a picture from I think the mid ‘60’s. Great family memories.




Always a must have at Easter, our family enjoys  this treat, also, at other holiday and family gatherings. 



1/3 CUP SUGAR – or to taste



2 STICK BUTTER – cold, diced

3 EGGS – beaten


Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor until well combined.  Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size lumps.  Add eggs and pulse until all just incorporated and dough begins to form large clumps or ball.

Turn out dough onto a work surface and divide into 6 portions.  With the heel of your hand, massage each portion a few times in a forward motion to help distribute fat.  Gather dough together, using a pastry scraper, and form into a thick log.  Cut off 2/3 of the log and form into a large rectangle for the bottom of the pie.  Form the remaining piece into a smaller rectangle for the top.  Chill each, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 30 minutes. This recipe is for a 9X13-inch baking pan/




5 EGG YOLKS – divided





1 ½ TSP VANILLA or ALMOND EXTRACT – your choice

1 LB RICOTTA – drained

1 ½ TSPS ORANGE ZEST – grated

1 ½ TSPS LEMON ZEST – grated



PINCH OF SALT – to taste

1 LARGE EGG – lightly beaten

Bring rice and well salted water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, covered until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain in strainer and rinse quickly under cold water.  Drain well, shaking several times to release excess water. 

Whisk together 3 yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl, then whisk in cornstarch and flour until smooth (this mixture should be very thick), then boil, whisking for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla or almond extract.  Transfer to a bowl and chill, covering the surface with plastic wrap, for about 2 hours.

Stir together ricotta, custard and remaining yolks, then stir in zests, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and cooked rice.


Preheat oven to 350º.  Generously butter a 9X13-inch baking dish and line the bottom with an overlapping double layer of foil, leaving at least 2-inches of overhang on both ends, then generously butter foil.

Roll out larger piece of dough between 2 sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap it a 11X15-inch rectangle (about 1/8-ich thick).  If dough becomes too soft, chill or freeze until firm.  Remove top sheet of paper and invert dough into baking pan, patting it gently to fit into pan.  Chill while working with 2nd piece of dough.  Roll out remaining dough, again between sheets of wax paper the same way.  Cut 12 (3/4-inch wide) long strips.

(The pastry dough is soft and tears easily when it gets too soft but patches easily too. Best to keep it chilled.)

Spread filling in pan, smooth top and arrange 6 strips diagonally across filling, trimming ends.  Arrange remaining 6 strips, diagonally across first strips to form a lattice effect on top with diamond-shaped spaces.  Alternately you can just cut strips to go across short end and then across the long end. Trim lattice to fit pan, then fold outside crust over filling, crimping to make a border.  Brush pastry evenly with a beaten egg.

Bake pie on middle rack of oven until pastry is golden brown and filling is puffed and set, about 1 ½ hours, loosely covering top of pie with foil after 45 minutes to prevent the crust from becoming too brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.  When completely cool, carefully lift pie out of pan using foil and transfer to serving dish. Chill if not serving immediately but bring to room temperature or a bit warm to serve.

Note: Pastry dough can be made and chilled I day in advance and kept chilled. Rice can also be prepared 1 day in advance and kept chilled




Facebook Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply