Neapolitan Rice Pie

When it comes to a classic Italian dessert, Pastiera (Rice Pie) tops the list. Every Italian has his or her favorite recipe, often from childhood, and so does Mary Ann, who teaches you how to make this classic recipe step by step, and by doing so, create a family tradition all your own.


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1 extra-large egg, slightly beaten, plusegg yolk
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado or raw sugar
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 inch piece of vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese, well drained
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


  1. Lightly spray a 10 1/2 x —1-inch tart pan with removable bottom with butter spray. Set aside.
  2. To prepare the dough, mix the all-purpose and cake flours, salt, and sugar in a food processor or bowl. Add the butter to the flour mixture and pulse to blend if using a food processor, or use a pastry blender or fork to blend the ingredients by hand. Add the whole egg and enough ice water to make a dough that is soft and not dry. Do not overmix or the dough will be tough. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  3. To prepare the filling, pour the wheat berries or rice and milk into a 1-quart saucepan, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan with a small knife, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until all the milk is absorbed. This will take about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the ricotta cheese, eggs, orange juice and zest, and sugar until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Fold in the cooled wheat berries or rice. Set the mixture aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  6. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half on a lightly floured surface into a 14-inch circle. Line the tart shell with one rolled-out half and trim the edges even with the top sides of the tart pan.
  7. Fill the tart shell with the ricotta filling. There will be a little of the filling left over. This can be baked separately in a small ovenproof dish or in small ramekins.
  8. Carefully roll the second sheet of dough loosely over the rolling pin and unroll it over the top of the filled tart. Trim off the excess dough, making sure the edges are sealed. Use the leftover dough to make a decorative pattern on top of the tart. I use a small rabbit cutter to make cutouts for the top.
  9. Brush the tart with the egg yolk and sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly over the top.
  10. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of the tart.
  11. Cool the tart on a rack, then carefully remove the sides of the tart pan and place the tart on a decorative serving dish. Cut into wedges to serve.
  12. Note: Instead of orange juice and orange zest, you may use lemon juice and zest, candied fruits or raisins.
  13. Variation: The wheat berries or rice can also be cooked in 2 cups of water instead of milk.
  14. Did you know that the Monday after Easter is called Pasquetta, Little Easter, in Italy and is a holiday almost a big as Easter? It is a day for Italians to relax in the countryside. Often a pastiera is brought along and enjoyed as picnic food.

This recipe was featured on Season 20 - Episode 2001.

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I watched your video for Easter grain pie or neapolitan rice pie . I can not find the printable recipe. Could you help direct me ? Many thanks and Happy Easter.


I made a mess out of grain cooking it just didn’t look good. Never made the pie. Is there a big difference from rice pie or just as good. Would like to try again. Maybe easier to make with rice.

Kathy Lusk

I remember making this every year at Easter with my Grandma. Thank you for the memory

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