history of the "PASTIERA"
Pastiera, even if in a rudemental form, was used during
the pagan celebrations of the return of the Spring time.
During these celebrations Cerereís priestess brought an
egg, symbol of new life in procession. Because of the
wheat or the einkorn, mixed to the soft ricotta cheese, it
could come from the einkorn bread called "confarratio"
a typical recipe during the ancient Roman weddings called
"confarratio". Another hypothesis we may
consider is that it comes from ritual bread used, which
spread during the period of Costantino the Great. They
were made of honey and milk the people offerd the
catechumen during Easter Eve at the end of the ceremony of
modern pastiera, was probably invented in a peaceful and
secret Neapolitan convent. An unknown nun wanted that
cake, symbol of the Resurection, to have the perfume of
the flowers of the orange trees which grew in the
conventís gardens. She mixed a handful of wheat to the
white ricotta cheese, then she added some eggs, symbol of
the new life, some water which had the fragrance of the
flowers of the spring time, cider and aromatic Asian
know for certain that the nuns of the ancient convent of
San Gregorio Armeno were considered to be genius in the
complex preparation of the Pastiera. They used to prepare
a great quantity for the rich families during Easter time.
good Neapolitan housewife considers herself to be the one
and only to have either the authentic or the best recipe
of the Pastiera.
There are two different ways of preparing the Pastiera:
the oldest one mixes the ricotta cheese to the eggs; the
most recent and innovative one, reccomends to mix thick
pastry cream which makes the Pastiera softer. This
innovation was introduced by Starace, a Neapolitan
confectioner who had a shop in a corner in Municipio
Pastiera has to be cooked with some days advance, no day
later than Maudy Thursday or Maudy Friday, in order to
allow the fragrances to mix properly to have as a result
that unique taste. The Pastiera is not only cooked but
also sold and served in appropriate pans called
"ruoti" because itís very fragile, so it would
easily crumble up if removed from the "ruoto".