A big tradition for my mom at Easter was to make her traditional Italian Wheat Pie. Super sweet and loaded with Ricotta cheese, this pie was always a huge hit.
I love Italian Wheat Pie. Of all the great dishes my mother’s kitchen produced at Easter time this was by far my favorite. I like it so much that I make it to this day and don’t wait for Easter to do so.
It is a known fact that Italians know how to break a fast. Every region in Italy in preparation for Easter Sunday creates a special pie or dish that ends the Lenten fast and celebrates the holiest day in the Christian calendar.
Wheat Pie is a traditional Easter Pie, made with tons of sugar, eggs, ricotta and cooked wheat. My mom used to add citron or other candied fruit to her pie and always included fresh wheat berries as opposed to the precooked canned variety. The wheat berry is getting harder and harder to find so I settle for using the can wheat most of the time. Taste just as good and saves some time.
- The Dough
- 6 cups of flour
- ¼ tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 sticks of butter
- 5 eggs
- The Filling:
- ½ pounds of whole milk ricotta cheese
- ½ cups of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of orange flavored water
- ½ tsp of vanilla
- 1 tablespoon of orange zest
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- 5 eggs and 2 egg yolks
- Tip: you can also use a pre-made pie crust found at the super market. The pre-made pie crust work just fine and can be a real time savor. Pick up an extra one and use it to over the top of your finished pie.
- If you really fancy making your own dough, here goes:
- Mix together flour, salt and sugar. If you have a food processor or mixer this will help. Cut butter into the flour mix and blend, add eggs one at a time and form a ball of dough. Set aside or can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.
- ½ cup of wheat berries. If you can’t find wheat berries, look for the pre cooked cans. Most Italian shops will have them and they will save you a bunch of time.
- Place wheat berries in a pot cover with water and let sit overnight. Boil the berries for 1 hour the next day and drain. Add a little sugar to the pot, cover again with milk and cook until soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Beat the eggs together and add ricotta, sugar, orange water, vanilla and orange and lemon zest. Mix well and add the Pasteria. If you made your own dough, cover the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan and fill with the mix. Save some pie dough and cut into strips and lay over the top of the pie.
- You should have enough filling and dough to make two pies and if you purchased premade pie crust be sure to have an extra one available to use for your strips.
- You may have noticed that I didn’t use the citron mentioned above. Truth of the matter is I don’t like it but many do. So if this is something you crave in your Wheat Pie, by all means add it to the mix. Cut the citron into ¼ inch cubes before adding to the mix.
- 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 and the top of the pies are golden. Keep in the oven to cool for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Happy Easter!