Pastiera napoletana (Neapolitan ricotta cheese Easter pie)
- 2 h 5 min
So many are the nice and delicious cakes eaten at Carnival, but there is one treat you must definitely try: migliaccio! A traditional dish from Campania with very ancient origins. Traditionally, the main ingredient was millet: Flour obtained from this grain was a customary ingredient in many Neapolitan “cucina povera” recipes. These days, semolina is generally used instead. It’s cooked in a mixture of milk and butter and then combined with other basic ingredients such as eggs, sugar, and ricotta cheese. As simple to prepare as it is unique in taste and texture, migliaccio is bound to become one of your favorite desserts, especially on joyful and colorful Carnival-like occasions. Bring it proudly to the table and your guests won’t be able to resist popping their streamers to celebrate!
To prepare the migliaccio, first cook the semolina. Combine milk, water 1, salt 2, and butter 3 in a saucepan,
then add the orange zest 4 and heat, stirring occasionally to melt the butter. Bring to a boil, then remove the orange zest 5 and pour in the semolina, stirring continuously with a whisk 6. Lower the heat and simmer for about 4-5 minutes,
the time it takes for the mixture to thicken 7. Transfer to a baking dish to cool 8. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the mixture: Strain the ricotta to make it soft and creamy 9, then remove the seeds from the vanilla bean by slicing it lengthwise and scraping out the insides with the tip of a small knife.
Combine the eggs, vanilla seeds, and sugar 10 in a bowl, then whisk the ingredients together until the mixture is pale and smooth. Now gradually add the ricotta 11 followed by the semolina, continuing to whisk 12. You should get an even mixture that’s well blended without any lumps.
Oil a 9-inch (24-cm) cake pan, line with parchment paper, then pour in the mixture 13 and level the surface with a spatula 14. Bake in a conventional oven preheated to 390°F (200°C) for 60 minutes (if the top is well-browned after 40-50 minutes, cover with a sheet of foil and keep cooking). Your migliaccio is ready 15: Before cutting and serving, allow it to cool in the pan, then turn it out and dust the surface with powdered sugar to taste.
The migliaccio can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. Not suitable for freezing.
To make your migliaccio more even tastier, try adding some dark chocolate chips, frozen and dusted with flour, at the last minute. You can add flavor to the batter by adding a citrus liqueur, sultanas, pine nuts, or candied fruits.