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The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf's Pastiera (Italian Wheat Pie) with a Twist


Four years ago, D was a huge fan of Cake Boss and heard them talk about Italian Wheat Pie; we made a version back then. I hadn't heard him mention it for years. But, in the past two weeks, he's been bugging to me to make a pastiera. As it's Spring Break, we have fewer commitments and he has more free time. So, I suggested he had time to do it. I helped...a little bit. When he decided to add a layer of frangipane to the bottom of the pie, I was excited. What a great twist!

Ingredients

Crust makes top and bottom 
  • 2-1/2 C flour
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 C butter (2 sticks), chilled and cubed
  • 1 t pure lemon extract
  • 1/2 C cold milk
Filling
  • 2 C whole milk ricotta
  • 2 C cooked wheat grains (we used farro)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C organic brown sugar
  • 1 C frangipane (recipe below)
  • 1 t pure lemon extract
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
Frangipane
  • 1 C ground almonds
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t pure lemon extract
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract


Procedure

Crust
In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar. Add the butter cubes and pulse until chunks the size of small peas form. Pour in lemon extract and 1/4 cup of cold milk and pulse. Pour in another 1/4 cup of cold milk till the dough comes together in a ball. Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and knead 2 to 3 times. Divide the dough into 2/3 and 1/3 - the larger ball will be the bottom crust, the smaller the top. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, approximately 1 hour.

Roll larger dough into bottom crust between two pieces of parchment paper. Transfer to your pie pan. Roll smaller dough into top crust and set aside. 

Frangipane
Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, or use a large bowl and a handheld mixer. Process until a thick paste forms. Reserve 1/4 C frangipane and spread the rest into the bottom of your pie crust.



Filling
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, sugar, eggs, 1/4 C frangipane, and extracts. Fold in the cooked grains until completely incorporated, then spoon into your crust. Place your top crust over the filling.


Crimp the edges together to seal the crust. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place pie in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top should be raised slightly and the crust nicely browned.


Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

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