Pastiera Neopolitana: Traditional Neapolitan Ricotta Easter Cake

A traditional ricotta easter cake from Napoli chef Valentino Palmisano of Norcia's Michelin star restaurant Vespasia | #dessert #easter #italian #ricotta #recipe
Photos and recipe by Valentino Palmisano


Our visit to the Bianconi family ‘s fabulous  Palazzo Seneca hotel and Michelin starred Vespasia Restaurant in Umbria is a memory we will always cherish! We were there in 2017 for the reopening of the town of Norcia, when Chef Valentino Palmisano took charge of the kitchen. His food was incredible!

When we saw that the Neapolitan chef was making a traditional Neapolitan Ricotta Easter Cake at home, we had to share it in time for you to make this Easter dessert. If you don’t have cooked wheat berries, Chef Valentino suggests other gluten-free alternatives using cooked rice or lentils. You can also watch him make the Easter cake on Instagram IGTV. The original recipe serves 20-24 people. The recipe below will make one cake.

We can’t wait to visit Norcia again, and hope you enjoy making Chef Valentino’s traditional ricotta Easter dessert!


Pastiera Neopolitana: Traditional Neapolitan Ricotta Easter Cake
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serves: 12
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For the dough:

  • 250 gr butter
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 375 gr all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • A pinch of salt
  • Vanilla essence or orange peel

For the filling:


For the dough:

  • Cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla or orange peel, and stir until smooth. Scrape the edges and make sure it's fully incorporated.
  • Add the flour and incorporate for a few minutes. Make into a disk, cover in plastic wrap, and chill dough for six hours.
  • Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment using your hands and rolling pin.
  • Cut about ⅓ of the dough and set aside to use for the top.
  • Place the rest of the dough in the tart pan and remove the overhanging dough with a rolling pin by rolling over the top of the pan. You can trim any additional dough with a knife.
  • Using a crimped pastry crimper, make long thin pices of dough about ¼ inch wide.

To assemble:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Mix together the eggs and egg yolks. Set aside.
  • Mix together ricotta, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Incorporate the eggs, cream, and orange flower water until homogenous.
  • Add the cooked wheat kernels and candied orange peel to the mixture.
  • Add the filling to the tart pan and lay the strips across the top of the filling to make a criss-cross pattern (3-4 each direction).
  • Bake for at least 35 minutes or until goden on top and a toothpick comes out ½clean when done.
  • Allow to cool. The cake will slightly deflate. Invert the tart on a plate to remove from pan.
Chef Valentino Palmisano video - Pastiera Napoletana : Part 1, Pastiera Napoletana  Part 2
We used a 9-inch spring form pan and filled it up with about 1/4 inch left at the top. It took about an hour to cook at 400F. We then turned off the oven and left it in the oven for an hour. The filling would make two thinner 8-inch cake pans.
We didn't have candied orange peel, so we used orange zest instead.
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