Pastiera Napoletana and its Secrets – Authentic Neapolitan Ricotta and Wheat Berry Easter Pie Step-by-Step

Pastiera Napoletana is one of the most delicious Neapolitan cake known for its crispy crust and its insanely addictive perfumed filling that is rich and soft like a cheesecake – thanks to ricotta – but grainy like a rice pudding – thanks to whole wheat berries – simply amazing!


pastiera napoletana best neapolitan ricotta wheat berrye aster pie cake

Pastiera (pron. Puhss-tee-A-ruh) is a classic Easter pie, especially in Naples area, and is usually made on spring time but nowadays you can find it in restaurants or pastry shops all year around.

This cake – dated back to the ‘700 in Gregorio Armeno convent in Naples – is easy to make especially if you follow my instructions (and secrets) step by step although it takes time and planning – the most dedicated of pastiera bakers insist that it should take at least 3 days to make it (from Maundy Thursday to Holy Saturday) – but there really isn’t much “work time” – just more “wait time” and the end result is well worth every minute you spend on it, trust me!

Today’s post isn’t just a recipe. It’s a lesson.
And I’ve really made some effort to keep this post from being too long, but I really want you to make this, so I’m guiding you through every single visual-step with photos so you know exactly what you are doing.

You’re not convinced to make it yet, right?

I really want you to challenge yourself and making this pie that tastes SO UNBELIEVABLY GOOD from scratch and of course even for the pleasure of making something remarkable, traditional and timeless.

Do you really want to miss this beauty???

pastiera authentic italian ricotta berry pie cake

No, you don’t, right? So let’s keep reading this TO-DIE-FOR recipe and I promise you’ll be so amazed by this pie that even a Neapolitan wouldn’t believe you made it. – Yes, you read that right.
By making this pie you may say you’re italian and you will fool even an italian – on condition that you won’t let your english accent to be heard, of course!

I searched and tested several recipes before finding THE ONE. Every family has their own recipe and along the italian boot you can find millions of variations. The latest (newest) ways of preparing pastiera is by using custard (instead of just eggs) to make the filling softer and wetter, but I’m not in favor of that, it would change too much the tradition and you know how much I love keeping heritage alive! And BTW, if you do in the right way the classic recipe you still have a soft and moist filling.
(10/04/2015 update: in all Penisola Sorrentina, not in Naples, it’s tradition to use pastry cream in the Pastiera filling, this dated back to about 100+ years.)

What I did is finding the most traditional homestyle recipe and adapting it to a modern palate. The result is a comfort and tasty pie crust (called “pasta frolla” in italian) filled with whole wheat berries cooked in milk, half “creamied up” with a mixer for a softer consistency – so you don’t have a too crunchy and crumbly texture – mixed with ricotta, eggs, sugar, candied citron, a mix of spices and the typical “springy” scent of orange blossom.

Pastiera Napoletana – Authentic Neapolitan Ricotta and Wheat Berry Easter Pie

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 1 1/2 hour = 20 minutes for the Pie Crust + 60 minutes for the filling
Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 12-16 servings (one 30cm / 12inch ø pie or two 22cm / 9inch ø pies)

INGREDIENTS:

Pie Crust or “Pasta Frolla”

  • 500 gr / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 200 gr / 7 oz / 2 sticks lard/butter at room temperature (tradition says lard for longer shelf life)
  • 200 gr / 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 yolk
  • 1 lemon zest (only the yellow part of the lemon, not the bitter white one)

Ricotta and Wheat Berry filling

  • 550 gr / 1.2 lbs cooked wheat berries* (“cooked grain” or “grano cotto“)
  • 400 ml / 1+3/4 cups whole cow’s milk
  • 40 gr / 3 tbsp butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 600 gr / 1.4 lbs sheeps’s ricotta (or at least a mix with cow)
  • 500 gr to 600 gr / 2 to 2.5 cups granulated sugar (I use 500 gr –  ≈ 2 full cups)
  • 7 medium eggs
  • 1 orange zest or 5-8 drops of pure Sweet Orange essential oil (organic!!!)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3-4 tbsp orange blossom water or 4 gr orange blossom flavouring or 8-10 drops of pure Neroli essential oil (organic)
  • 70 gr / 1/2 cup chopped candied citron** – I don’t recommend getting the waxy, artificially coloured stuff…

Garnish

  • powdered sugar / icing sugar

cooked wheat berriesif you cannot find cooked wheat berries: put 200 gr / 7 oz uncooked wheat berries in a bowl covered with water for 3 days – changing water twice a day to clean them. Drain and rinse under cold water then simmer for about 1 1/2 hours without stirring, until soft. Drain and reserve until needed (cooked wheat berries can be stored in the fridge for a week).

** if you don’t like eating chopped candied fruits just leave them out or mix them along with half wheat berries. I prefer the latter because the taste of candied fruits give a boost to the pie and you won’t feel their presence.

INSTRUCTIONS

DAY 1 (Maundy Thursday) – 30 minutes

In a heavy bottomed saucepan place the cooked wheat berries with butter, milk and a pinch of salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally (to avoid the berries from sticking onto the bottom of the pan) until it becomes thick and creamy like oatmeal, about 30 minutes.
Let it cool then place in a cool and dry place covered (OUTSIDE the fridge) for about 12 hours.

wheat berry milk butter

(I used a Thermo mixer that helped me in the cooking)

wheat berry milk

(I used a Thermo mixer that helped me in the cooking)

In the meanwhile, mix well ricotta with sugar.

ricotta sugar

Place this creamy mixture in a clean* cotton cloth and store in the fridge for about 12 hours (*do not use fabric softener on the cloth!).
That’s the SECRET that neapolitan grandmothers always used to do to drain ricotta from water. (IMPORTANT STEP)

ricotta inside cloth ricotta enclosed cloth

DAY 2 (Good Friday) – 50 minutes

To make the Pie Crust

Place in a bowl flour, sugar, butter/lard and lemon zest and combine with a fork or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal – you can do this by using a food processor for about 15 seconds.

pie crust ingredients lard butter lemon zest pastry blender cutter butter flour

Add 3 medium eggs and 1 yolk and mix JUST until the dough is uniform and holds together.

pie crust dough orange eggs

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough into two pieces one larger than the other.

pie dough ball cut

Cover both with plastic wrap and refrigerate before using (this will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour) – you can do this passage on DAY 1 if you want.

pie crust balls plastic wrap

To make the filling

Remove ricotta from the cloth and put it in a bowl.
It should look dry like that.

dry ricotta cotton cloth pastiera secret

Add eggs, cinnamon (optional), vanilla and orange blossom flavouring and stir until all is mixed well – do not over beat! – freshly beaten eggs will make the filling rise while cooking then sink when cooled, presenting a hollow and some cracking on top and you don’t want that, right?

ricotta orange eggs vanilla cinnamon mixed ricotta eggs pastiera pie

In a mixer, blend half the amout of wheat berries – this will ensure a creamier filling. As I said before, if you don’t like eating pieces of candied citron you can blend them now with wheat berries – but tradition says to use them whole.

blender wheat berries candied citron wheat berry

Add wheat berries (whole and mixed) to the (yellow) ricotta mixture along with finely chopped candied citron if you don’t have mixed it before.

To make Pastiera Napoletana

Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C – gas mark 3) and place oven rack in the center of the oven.

Remove the larger pie dough from the fridge and place it on a wax/baking paper.

Put another wax/baking paper over the dough – to prevent the pastry from sticking to the rolling pin and to ensure uniform thickness – and roll the pastry into a 14 inch (36 cm) circle – about 1/8 – 1/4 inch (0,3 – 0,5 cm) thick.

pie crust rolling pin easy rolled pie crust baking paper

Gently remove the first wax/baking paper and transfer the dough to a 12 inch (30cm) greased springform pan (you can leave the second baking paper, your choice).

remove baking paper rolled pie crust

rolled pasta frolla pie crust pastiera pan pie crust pasta frolla pan

Make sure that the height of the edge has to be 2.5 inch (6 cm) – if the pie is shorter pastiera would be drier while if it’s taller pastiera would be too moist, so that’s the best height for a good pastiera.

holes pie crust pan pasta frolla

Poke holes with a toothpick or a fork all over the pie. This will prevent air pockets during the cooking.

Put the filling onto the pastry base.

filling pie crust pastiera

Remove from the fridge the remaining dough ball and roll out the pastry using the wax/baking paper method used before.

With a pastry wheel cut 5 long strips 1.5 inch (4cm) wide (this width is a peculiarity of pastiera) – usually narrower strips are used for fruit tarts.

If room temperature is a bit hot and it’s messing up the working of the pastry dough, you can help to chill the dough by putting some ice bags on it, before removing the baking paper.

pie crust ice

Using an offset spatula, gently transfer the strips to the pie: lay them across the top of the pie to form a criss cross diamond pattern (not square) (2 strips under and 3 over).

pie crust pasta frolla strips

Trim the edges of the strips to fit the pan then lightly press the pastry around the edges to seal.

Now, if you want, you can brush the pastry gently with some egg wash (whisk one egg with 1tbsp milk or cream) to make it shiny like those pastieras sold in bakeries.

Bake Pastiera for about 90 minutes at 325°F (165°C – gas mark 3) until the crust is golden and the filling is amber-brown on top.

It’s important, though, not to open the oven door while it’s baking (or at least for the first 45 minutes) as the batter may collapse.

The long cooking time at low temperature allow pastiera to cook evenly and to remain lightly moist inside – this will also ensure a longer shelf life.

When Pastiera is baked, turn off the oven, open the oven door and leave the pie in the turned off oven for about 15 minutes.

When it’s cooled, store Pastiera in its pan covered with plastic wrap in a cool place (room temperature), DO NOT refrigerate (if you’re not living in the caribbean of course).

pastiera out oven easter

Try with all your self control to wait until 2 days before eating a slice.

DAY 3 (Holy Saturday)

Wait…. I know, waiting is torture. Pure torture.
But if you can wait, this delicious “springy” parfumed pie is even more flavourful and moist on day 3 or 4 – heavenly I say.
It takes A LOT of willpower, so ummm… you definitely don’t have to wait…. but resting time allow flavours and spices to mingle nicely, so have a try….

DAY 4 (Easter)

Dust neapolitan pastiera with a bit of powdered sugar and…… here it is, the Majesty Queen Pastiera Napoletana ready to be devoured!

pastiera napoletana best ricotta easter pie

Pastiera can be stored at room temperature (covered with plastic wrap) for about 5 days, although I have never had one last that long.

neapolitan pastiera easter pie

You can even freeze it and when you want to eat it just thaw the pie out (or a slice) and leave it – well covered – at room temperature (do not microwave). It will be like fresh-made.

pastiera authentic italian ricotta berry pie cake

Pastiera Napoletana pie is totally not bikini friendly, I know, but totally worth every bite and BTW your mind would be so grateful, this is what’s really important (at least make it once a year!). And as I always say, let’s put us on a diet tomorrow, not today!

best pastiera italian pie closeup

MORE TECHNICAL INFORMATION FOR PASTIERA EXPERTS:

If you follow the recipe above, you’ll turn out to have a perfect Pastiera but if you want to make some changes you need to know several things to help you out.

You need to balance liquids and solids to obtain good results so:

  • if ricotta is too wet you need to use drier wheat berries (they need to have absorbed all the liquid when cooked in milk);
  • if ricotta is dry you need to use creamy wheat berries (not overcooked in milk);
  • the batter needs to be creamy (a bit thick) – if it’s too liquid you need to add eggs – so, when cooked, they create a retaining structure and the pie won’t droop in the middle.

authentic italian ricotta pie naples Other related recipes you may like:

best italian cheesecake ricotta mascarpone fluffy soft Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)

authentic gelatin-free panna cotta best perfect italian Piedmont Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta

tenerina pie cake best italian ferrara chocolate tender heart Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie

Pastiera Napoletana and its Secrets - Authentic Neapolitan Ricotta and Wheat Berry Easter Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pastiera Napoletana is one of the most delicious "springy" Neapolitan cake known for its crispy crust and its insanely addictive perfumed filling that is rich and soft but grainy like a rice pudding, simply amazing! - Please read through the recipe in full before beginning.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12-16
Ingredients
Pie Crust or "Pasta Frolla"
  • 500 gr / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 200 gr / 7 oz / 2 sticks lard/butter at room temperature (traditions says lard for longer shelf life)
  • 200 gr / 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 yolk
  • 1 lemon zest (only the yellow part of the lemon, not the bitter white part)
Ricotta and Wheat Berry filling
  • 550 gr / 1.2 lbs cooked wheat berries
  • 400 ml / 1+3/4 cups whole cow's milk
  • 40 gr / 3 tbsp butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • --
  • 600 gr / 1.4lbs sheep's ricotta
  • 500 gr to 600 gr / 2 to 2.5 cups granulated sugar (I use 500 gr - ≈ 2 full cups)
  • --
  • 7 medium eggs
  • 1 orange zest or 5-8 drops of pure Sweet Orange essential oil (organic)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3-4 tbsp orange blossom water or 4 gr orange blossom flavouring or 6-8 drops of pure Neroli essential oil (organic)
  • 70 gr / ½ cup chopped candied citron
Garnish
  • Powdered sugar
Instructions
DAY 1 (Maundy Thursday) - 30 minutes
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan place the cooked wheat berries with butter, milk and a pinch of salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally (to avoid the berries from sticking onto the bottom of the pan) until it becomes thick and creamy like oatmeal, about 30 minutes.
  2. Let it cool then place in a cool and dry place covered (OUTSIDE the fridge) for about 12 hours.
  3. In the meanwhile, mix ricotta with sugar. Place this creamy mixture in a clean* cotton cloth and store in the fridge for about 12 hours (*do not use fabric softener on the cloth!). (IMPORTANT STEP)
DAY 2 (Good Friday) - 50 minutes
To make the Pie Crust
  1. Place in a bowl flour, sugar, butter/lard and lemon zest and combine with a fork or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal - you can do this by using a food processor for about 15 seconds.
  2. Add 3 medium eggs and 1 yolk and mix JUST until the dough is uniform and holds together.
  3. Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball.
  4. Divide the dough into two pieces one larger than the other. Cover both with plastic wrap and refrigerate before using (this will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour) - you can do this passage on DAY 1 if you want.
To make the filling
  1. Remove ricotta from the cloth and put it in a bowl.
  2. Add eggs, cinnamon (optional), vanilla and orange blossom flavouring and stir until all is mixed well - do not over beat!
  3. In a mixer, blend half the amout of wheat berries (and citron if you like) - this will ensure a creamier filling.
  4. Add wheat berries (whole and mixed) to the ricotta mixture along with finely chopped candied citron if you don't have mixed it before.
To make Pastiera Napoletana
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C - gas mark 3) and place oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Remove the larger pie dough from the fridge and place it on a wax/baking paper.
  3. Put another wax/baking paper over the dough - to prevent the pastry from sticking to the rolling pin and to ensure uniform thickness - and roll the pastry into a 14 inch (36 cm) circle - about ⅛ - ¼ inch (0,3 - 0,5 cm) thick.
  4. Gently remove the first wax/baking paper and transfer the dough to a 12 inch (30cm) greased springform pan (you can leave the second baking paper, your choice).
  5. Make sure that the height of the edge has to be 2.5 inch (6 cm).
  6. Poke holes with a toothpick or a fork all over the pie. This will prevent air pockets during the cooking.
  7. Put the filling onto the pastry base.
  8. Remove from the fridge the remaining dough ball and roll out the pastry using the wax/baking paper method used before.
  9. With a pastry wheel cut 5 long strips 1.5 inch (4cm) wide (this width is a peculiarity of pastiera) - usually narrower strips are used for fruit tarts.
  10. Using an offset spatula, gently transfer the strips to the pie: lay them across the top of the pie to form a criss cross diamond pattern (not square) (2 strips under and 3 over).
  11. Trim the edges of the strips to fit the pan then lightly press the pastry around the edges to seal.
  12. Now, if you want, you can brush the pastry gently with some egg wash (whisk one egg with 1tbsp milk or cream) to make it shiny like those pastieras sold in bakeries.
  13. Bake Pastiera for about 90 minutes at 325°F (165°C - gas mark 3) until the crust is golden and the filling is amber-brown on top.
  14. When Pastiera is baked, turn off the oven, open the oven door and leave the pie in the turned off oven for about 15 minutes.
  15. When it's cooled, store Pastiera in its pan covered with plastic wrap in a cool place (room temperature), DO NOT refrigerate (if you're not living in the caribbean of course).
  16. Try with all your self control to wait until 2 days before eating a slice.
DAY 3 (Holy Saturday)
  1. Wait
DAY 4 (Easter)
  1. Dust neapolitan pastiera with a bit of powdered sugar and...... here it is, the Majesty Queen Pastiera Napoletana ready to be devoured!
Notes
If you don't like eating chopped candied fruits just leave them out or mix them along with half wheat berries. I prefer the latter because the taste of candied fruits give a boost to the pie and you won't feel their presence.
Do not open the oven door while it's baking (or at least for the first 45 minutes) as the batter may collapse.

Pastiera can be stored at room temperature (covered with plastic wrap) for about 5 days.

You can even freeze it and when you want to eat it just thaw the pie out (or a slice) and leave it - well covered - at room temperature (do not microwave). It will be like fresh-made.

Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)

Some of you asked me about the recipe for the Italian Cheesecake (made with ricotta) always served in italian restaurants, that is lighter, airy and fluffier than the american one, so I made for you a little research and some tests to find the best one.


best italian cheesecake ricotta mascarpone fluffy soft

I personally like more the NewYork Cheesecake version (you can find the best recipe ever here) because it kinda reminds me my beloved journeys to the U.S., but whichever you prefer, if you’ll make this italian Cheesecake you’ll love it so much that you’ll have to restrain yourself from not eating the entire cake! (I’m not joking, me and my husband ate it in just 2 days and we fought for the last slice…)

The first two recipes I tried, provide for just ricotta as a main ingredient but, although the flavors were lovely, they didn’t send me to the moon because the texture was a bit grainy and less smooth.

So I swapped out half of ricotta for mascarpone cheese, known for its silky texture and its sweet taste. And that’s when I found the best version. Smooth, lighter but rich in flavour, so fluffy and delicate, just amazing! Especially when eaten after an overnight rest (covered and refrigerated), so the flavors have time to blend, as for every cheesecake. After 2 days in the fridge it’s even better, but who can wait for 2 days to eat it?!

So this is my “go to” italian cheesecake, definitely your sweet tooth will be satisfied!

best italian cheese cake ricotta mascarpone sliced

parmigiano reggiano discount

Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 8-12 servings

Ingredients:

for the base:

  • 200 gr / 2 cups / 7 oz graham crackers finely crushed (I use the classic italian cookies Oro Saiwa)
  • 30-50 gr / 1/8-1/4 cup / 1-2 oz sugar (I use 30 gr)
  • 110 gr / 1/2 cup / 4 oz unsalted butter

for the filling:

  • 250 gr / 1 1/8 cups / 9 oz whole milk ricotta (cow or sheep or mixed, I use both mixed because the cheesecake will be tastier)
  • 250 gr / 1 1/8 cups / 9 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 100-120 gr / 1/2-3/4 cup / 3.5-4.5 oz sugar (I use 100 gr)
  • 1/2 vanilla pod or 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp (10 gr) cornstarch or potato starch
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • a pinch of salt

for the topping:

  • fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces….

Instructions:

Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you star mixing the filling.

If ricotta is too watery put it in a sieve or a cheesecloth set over a bowl for at least 30 minutes, but I’ve never had to do this so just drain it when you see that it loses liquid.

Grease with a no-stick spray or some butter the bottom and sides of a 23 cm / 9 inch springform pan or use a sheet of baking paper.

italian cheesecake silicon springform pan

As you can see, I use a silicone springform pan, it’s perfect for cheesecakes!

To make the crust, mix the graham crackers crumbs, sugar and melted butter until combined. Press this mixture over the bottom of the springform pan and about 2,5 cm / 1 inch up the sides.

italian cheese cake oro saiwa

Classic Italian cookies for cheese cake – they don’t contain eggs

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.

Using an electric mixer beat ricotta, mascarpone, sugar and cornstarch just until smooth (do not over beat!).

Add egg yolks one at a time and beat for no more than 30 seconds each, to avoid the cheesecake to crack in the oven.

If used, split half the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds. Add them (or the vanilla extract) into the batter and combine.

In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.

italian cheesecake egg whites firm

Add whipped egg whites to the ricotta and mascarpone batter.

italian cheese cake batter complete

Mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon or spatula to avoid undoing the whipping of the egg whites (if you want a less fluffier cake, put no whipped egg whites together with the yolks).

italian cheesecake batter springform pan

Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and level the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

italian cheesecake batter leveled springform pan

Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C / 300°F / gas mark 2 and bake for about 90 minutes, when the top is lightly golden and/or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 20 minutes, then remove the cake and let cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap.

best authentic italian cheese cake torta ricotta baked top

Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight. Don’t eat it if it’s not chilled well because it will not taste like a cheesecake but like a mousse (well… it wouldn’t be so bad though, right?).

italian cheesecake baked side

Serve the italian cheesecake with fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces or whatever you like! (I usually use a blueberry jam and some mixed preserved berries to garnish).

best italian cheese cake topped blueberry sauce

best italian cheesecake ricotta mascarpone authentic

perfect italian cheese cake ricotta mascarpone soft fluffy

As you can see from the pictures, the inside of my cheesecake is yellow but that’s why I used eggs with orange yolk, so if you use normal eggs the cheesecake will be as white as usual. Enjoy!

best italian cheese cake torta ricotta mascarpone airy soft

Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Classic Italian Cheesecake with ricotta and mascarpone, smooth and lighter but rich in flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
for the base:
  • 200 gr / 2 cups / 7 oz graham crackers finely crushed (I use the classic italian cookies Oro Saiwa)
  • 30-50 gr / ⅛-1/4 cup / 1-2 oz sugar (I use 30 gr)
  • 110 gr / ½ cup / 4 oz unsalted butter
for the filling:
  • 250 gr / 1⅛ cups / 9 oz whole milk ricotta (cow or sheep or mixed, I use both mixed because the cheesecake will be tastier)
  • 250 gr / 1⅛ cups / 9 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 100-120 gr / ½-3/4 cup / 3.5-4.5 oz sugar (I use 100 gr)
  • ½ vanilla pod or 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp (10 gr) cornstarch or potato starch
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • a pinch of salt
for the topping:
  • fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces....
Instructions
  1. Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you star mixing the filling.
  2. If ricotta is too watery put it in a sieve or a cheesecloth set over a bowl for at least 30 minutes, but I've never had to do this so just drain it when you see that it loses liquid.
  3. Grease with a no-stick spray or some butter the bottom and sides of a 23 cm / 9 inch springform pan or use a sheet of baking paper.
  4. To make the crust, mix the graham crackers crumbs, sugar and melted butter until combined. Press this mixture over the bottom of the springform pan and about 2,5 cm / 1 inch up the sides.
  5. Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.
  6. Using an electric mixer beat ricotta, mascarpone, sugar and cornstarch just until smooth (do not over beat!).
  7. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat for no more than 30 seconds each, to avoid the cheesecake to crack in the oven.
  8. If used, split half the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds. Add them (or the vanilla extract) into the batter and combine.
  9. In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.
  10. Add whipped egg whites to the ricotta and mascarpone batter.
  11. Mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon or spatula to avoid undoing the whipping of the egg whites (if you want a less fluffier cake, put no whipped egg whites together with the yolks).
  12. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and level the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  13. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C / 300°F / gas mark 2 and bake for about 90 minutes, when the top is lightly golden and/or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 20 minutes, then remove the cake and let cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap.
  14. Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
  15. Serve the italian cheesecake with fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces or whatever you like!

Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta

Thinking of a famous dessert you can find in almost every italian restaurant, I remembered how my grandmothers use to do it, with simple and easy available ingredients. I’ve made several tests to achieve a perfect result because unfortunately I didn’t have a recipe in hand….. so now let’s talk about a delicious, creamy, delicate and authentic gelatin-free Panna Cotta!


authentic gelatin-free panna cotta best perfect italian

Panna Cotta (pron. pun-nuh cot-tuh – means “cooked cream”) is a great italian dessert, born in the Piedmont region and then widespread all over Italy, generally made from cream, set with gelatine, served chilled and topped with chocolate, wild berries or caramel sauce.

But some time ago people didn’t have widely available gelatin in their pantry and they used egg whites instead. So this recipe can be useful to use up leftover egg whites instead of throwing them away (you can freeze extra egg whites and defrost them in the fridge when you’re ready to use them).

Today you can find gelatin in every grocery store and you can do Panna Cotta easily in few minutes, but I like this traditional Panna Cotta recipe the most because I think it has the real Panna Cotta taste.

parmigiano reggiano discount

Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 5 minutes + cooling time Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml double / heavy cream (2+1/3 cup)
  • 150 gr egg whites (about 5 medium eggs, but try to be precise) *
  • 80/100 gr granulated white sugar (I use 80 gr / 3 oz) *
  • 1/2 empty vanilla pod or 1/4 vanilla pod with seeds

(*I prefer to not convert these ingredients in volume measures because in desserts the weights are essential for the final result)

Instructions:

Place the cream, sugar and vanilla pod in a pan and bring to the simmer. Remove from heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool.

cream vanilla pod sugar panna cotta

Preheat oven to 300°F – 150°C – gas mark 2.

In a bowl beat the egg whites with a fork, paying attention to not create foam or bubbles or your Panna Cotta will come out with holes, until the whites are become liquid quite like water and have lost elasticity. If you can find them at the grocery store, use pasteurized egg whites that are better because they usually are perfectly liquid.

Update: a reader commented saying that she used an immersion blender to beat the egg whites instead of a fork. It took about 15 seconds to make the texture like water, and by keeping the whole blade under the surface it made no bubbles.

egg whites bubbles

Add egg whites to the cream mixture (as you can see from the picture above, I created foam, because I was in a hurry, but I resolved by using a sieve in adding egg whites to the cream mixture and it also stopped any egg whites impurities).

Mix well with a fork and divide the mixture among buttered non-stick moulds.

panna cotta mixture mould

Immediately, pour boiling water into a baking pan until the water level reach 3/4 of the moulds.

panna cotta boiling water

Place the moulds in the pan (bain-marie method).

panna cotta moulds baking pan

The picture may show 1/3, but the boiling water has to reach 3/4 of the moulds height.

Bake at 300°F – 150°C – gas mark 2 for 1 1/2 hour (90 minutes) or until the surface is golden brown.
If you bake Panna Cotta at 275°F – 140°C – gas mark 1 you would need about 2 hours and the surface will be less coloured.

Turn off the oven and let cool Panna Cotta completely inside it before covering the moulds with plastic wrap.

panna cotta baked

Refrigerate several hours (at least 4).

To serve, unmould the Panna Cotta by passing a thin knife, or a long needle, heated in boiling water around the inside of each one. Turn each Panna Cotta out onto a dessert plate holding the base with a warm cloth to help the release. If you don’t like the soft brown crust at the end of Panna Cotta, remove it before serving.

Spoon your favourite sauce or fresh fruit over or just dust with some icing sugar.

authentic gelatin-free panna cotta italian best

Ooops! Sorry, I couldn’t wait! 😉

authentic gelatin-free panna cotta eat best

And now you have your creamy, hearty, authentic Panna Cotta! Yes, it’s a bit long recipe but really worth the results!

Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Creamy, hearty, authentic Panna Cotta!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 ml double / heavy cream (2+1/3 cup)
  • 150 gr egg whites (about 5 medium eggs, but try to be precise) *
  • 80/100 gr granulated white sugar (I use 80 gr / 3 oz) *
  • ½ empty vanilla pod or ¼ vanilla pod with seeds
Instructions
  1. Place the cream, sugar and vanilla pod in a pan and bring to the simmer.
  2. Remove from heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 300°F - 150°C - gas mark 2.
  4. In a bowl beat the egg whites with a fork, paying attention to not create foam or bubbles or your Panna Cotta will come out with holes, until the whites are become liquid quite like water and have lost elasticity.
  5. Add egg whites to the cream mixture..
  6. Mix well with a fork and divide the mixture among buttered non-stick moulds.
  7. Immediately, pour boiling water into a baking pan until the water level reach ¾ of the moulds.
  8. Place the moulds into the pan (bain-marie method).
  9. Bake at 300°F - 150°C - gas mark 2 for 1½ hour (90 minutes) or until the surface is golden brown. If you bake Panna Cotta at 275°F - 140°C - gas mark 1 you would need about 2 hours and the surface will be less coloured.
  10. Turn off the oven and let cool Panna Cotta completely inside it before covering the moulds with plastic wrap.
  11. Refrigerate several hours (at least 4).
  12. To serve, unmould the Panna Cotta by passing a thin knife, or a long needle, heated in boiling water around the inside of each one. Turn each Panna Cotta out onto a dessert plate holding the base with a warm cloth to help the release.
  13. If you don't like the soft brown crust at the end of Panna Cotta, remove it before serving.
  14. Spoon your favourite sauce or fresh fruit over or just dust with some icing sugar.

Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie

Tenerina (pron. teh-nay-ree-nuh) is the most traditional chocolate pie in Emilia-Romagna and it’s typical of the town of Ferrara along with Cappellacci di zucca (egg pasta filled with butternut squash), Salama da sugo (boiled red wine cured salami) and its famous bread.


tenerina pie cake best italian ferrara chocolate tender heart

This pie was created in the early 1900 by Ferrara’s gourmands in honor of Elena Petrovich, queen of Montenegro, that married the king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III (she was a sweet queen with a tender heart).

tenerina cake pie sugar chocholate

You can find Tenerina in every restaurant in the town but few of them make it perfect, so you better try this at home instead, it’s wonderful!

From the pictures you would say that it’s like a brownie or a flourless chocolate cake but it has nothing to compare with them.
Outside is slightly crispy like a chocolate meringue while inside is rich, quite moist, tender and has a delicate texture, not dense nor heavy, that melts in your mouth. A real paradise for chocolate lovers (even if the pictures doesn’t show that).

Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams / 7 ounces butter (at room temperature/soft)
  • 160-200 grams /5.7-7 ounces sugar
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 medium or 6 small eggs
  • 400 grams / 14 ounces quality dark chocolate (50-60%)
  • a pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar to taste

(I prefer to not convert these ingredients in volume measures because in desserts the weights are essential for the final result)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 150ºC / 300ºF / gas mark 2 (convention oven is best).

Put the chocolate in a pirex bowl and microwave at 500w for 3-4 minutes, mix with a spoon and then microwave again for another minute or two until chocolate is melted.

chocholate chunk

In a bowl mix sugar and butter until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add egg yolks and mix until it seems a custard. Add flour and mix again until all lumps are gone.

Add melted chocolate (not too hot) to the mixture and quickly mix until smooth.

In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.

egg whites firm

Add whipped egg whites to the chocolate custard one spoon at time, mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon to avoid undoing the whipping of the eggs whites. Proceed this way until the egg whites are finished.

Grease a 13” / 32 cm round pie pan with butter and cover with a little of flour or spray with a non-stick spray or use a baking sheet.
To avoid the pie from cracking after baking, I use a baking sheet only at the base with two little flaps and I use a non-stick spray on the pan sides. When I remove the pie from the pan I pull the flaps until the pie is on a plate, but it’s normal that the crust breaks a bit, it’s like a meringue.

Bake the pie for 45 minutes, but you can see the perfect cooking time when the circle of little bubbles (that you can see in the photo below) shrink into a ≈ 4 inches / 10 cm diameter. So the center will be a little tender but cooked (and this is one of its distinctive features).

You can make it look prettier by using powdered sugar on top or by adding some mascarpone custard on the side, but the rich taste and delicate texture are what make the Tenerina a winner.

tenerina slice cake pie

You can do a smaller Tenerina by dividing in two the ingredients (use 3 medium eggs). You can also use single-serving baking cups for an elegant touch.

Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A delicious cake that even no chocoholics will love!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces butter (at room temperature/soft)
  • 160-200 grams /5.7-7 ounces sugar
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 medium or 6 small eggs
  • 400 grams / 14 ounces quality dark chocolate (50-60%)
  • a pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC / 300ºF / gas mark 2 (convention oven is best).
  2. Put the chocolate in a pirex bowl and microwave at 500w for 3-4 minutes, mix with a spoon and then microwave again for another minute or two until chocolate is melted.
  3. In a bowl mix sugar and butter until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add egg yolks and mix until it seems a custard.
  4. Add flour and mix again until all lumps are gone.
  5. Add melted chocolate (not too hot) to the mixture and quickly mix until smooth.
  6. In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.
  7. Add whipped egg whites to the chocolate custard one spoon at time, mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon to avoid undoing the whipping of the eggs whites.
  8. Proceed this way until the egg whites are finished.
  9. Grease a 13'' / 32 cm round pie pan with butter and cover with a little of flour or spray with a non-stick spray or use a baking sheet.
  10. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, but you can see the perfect cooking time when the circle of little bubbles (that you can see in the photo below) shrink into a ≈ 4 inches / 10 cm diameter. So the center will be a little tender but cooked (and this is one of its distinctive features).
  11. You can make it look prettier by using powdered sugar on top or by adding some mascarpone custard on the side.

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)

These little pizzas are children’s favourites. They are perfect for parties as a finger food, but you have to be sure to make a big batch because they run out quickly!
Trust me, these little pizzas will be really a success.


best pizzette little pizza fingerfood parties feast

So, as promised, here is the 3rd pizza recipe I’d like to share with you, the last one (for now).

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 2h and 30 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: ≈25 little pizzas (8 cm / 3″ Ø)

Ingredients:

  • 270 grams / 9.5 ounces / 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 10 grams / 0.35 ounces / 1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast or 240 grams / 8.40 ounces mother yeast
  • 41 grams / 1.45 ounces / 8 tsp sugar
  • 72 grams / 2.5 ounces / 6 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 18 grams / 0.63 ounces / 3 tsp salt

Instructions:

Dissolve dry yeast in warm water with sugar.
Mix all the ingredients and knead for about 20 minutes to form a soft, smooth and no sticky dough (add flour or water to adjust).
Let rise for 2 hours (3-4 hours if using mother yeast) covered with plastic wrap.
Roll out the dough to 0,3 cm / 0.12″ thick, with a round pastry cutter form the little pizzas and put them in a pan covered with baking paper.

Dress with plain tomato sauce and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent a dry crust.

little italian pizza tomato Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F / gas mark 7.
In the meantime, let rise pizzas a bit (about 30 minutes).

Bake pizzas for 5 minutes or until you can see tomato “cracks” as you can see below.

Little Pizza Baking

Add a mozzarella cube over each pizza and bake again 10 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and light brown.

little pizza mozzarella

Aren’t they making you hungry???

best pizzette little pizza fingerfood perfect

IMPORTANT tips to know:

If you are using fresh or dry yeast (not mother yeast), I suggest you to greatly reduce the amount of yeast in recipes and, as a consequence, to extend the rising time.
A slow fermentation allow a better maturation of the dough with more digestible, more flavorful and tastier pizzas.
So here are the times I suggest you for about 500 grams/18 ounces/4 cups of flour (that usually require 10 grams/1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast for 2 hours of rising time):

  • 4 h of rising time -> use 1/2 amount of yeast;
  • 6 h of rising time -> use 1/4 amount of yeast;
  • 8 h of rising time -> use 1/8 amount of yeast;
  • 10 h of rising time -> use 1/16 amount of yeast;
  • ……

Here’s an example: if you want your dough to rise in 6 hours use 2,5 grams / 1/4 tbsp of granulated dry yeast or 6,25 grams / 1/8 tbsp of fresh yeast. 

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Italian Little Pizzas, perfect for a brunch, children birthdays or any other party.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 25
Ingredients
  • 270 grams / 9.5 ounces / 1¼ cups warm water
  • 10 grams / 0.35 ounces / 1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / ½ tbsp fresh yeast or 240 grams / 8.40 ounces mother yeast
  • 41 grams / 1.45 ounces / 8 tsp sugar
  • 72 grams / 2.5 ounces / 6 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2½ cups bread flour
  • 18 grams / 0.63 ounces / 3 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Dissolve dry yeast in warm water with sugar.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and knead for about 20 minutes to form a soft, smooth and no sticky dough (add flour or water to adjust).
  3. Let rise for 2 hours (3-4 hours if using mother yeast) covered with plastic wrap.
  4. Roll out the dough to 0,3 cm / 0.12" thick, with a round pastry cutter form the little pizzas and put them in a pan covered with baking paper.
  5. Dress with plain tomato sauce and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent a dry crust.
  6. Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F / gas mark 7.
  7. In the meantime, let rise pizzas a bit (about 30 minutes).
  8. Bake pizzas for 5 minutes or until you can see tomato "cracks".
  9. Add a mozzarella cube over each pizza and bake again 10 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and light brown.

Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice (Italian Pizza al Taglio)

My son doesn’t like flat pizza, so I had to learn how to make a really soft and doughy pizza like those you can find in an italian bakery (…or anywhere else).


pizza al taglio soft doughy italian best chicago style

I’ve already told you that I’m a very pizza addict, so here is a second recipe… while waiting for the 3rd! 😉

At home it’s mostly impossible to achieve because you would need professional ovens, so after months and months of kneading and baking I figured out how to do it (the secret for a very soft dough is just a potato)… and now my son is really happy (and I keep on baking…).

If you want to save time, like I often do, you can use instant mashed potato flour instead of steaming just one potato. So keep in mind that if you use a steamed potato you need to reduce the amount of water stated in the ingredients.

Pizza al taglio

Soft and Doughy Pizza (Italian Pizza al taglio)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 25 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3/4 servings – 40cm x 30cm / 15″ x 12″ pizza pan

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 130 grams / 4.6 ounces / 1/2 cup milk (or water if you want a lighter version)
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 1 cup water* (less if using a steamed potato read below)
  • 10 grams / 1 tbsp granulated active dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast or 140 grams / 5 ounces mother yeast
  • 20 grams / 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 20 grams / 1/4 cup instant mashed potatoes flour or 1 steamed and peeled potato (in this case use less water*)
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour (or pizza/bread flour)
  • 10 grams / 1 full tsp sugar
  • 10 grams / 1 1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:

  • 1 cup plain chopped tomatoes sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste
  • other ingredients to your taste
  • fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces (making big pieces is important to prevent mozzarella from burning during the cooking time)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 230°C / 450°F / gas mark 8.
Dissolve yeast in warm water and/or milk, sugar and butter, then mix all the ingredients (add the remain water and salt at last) to form a smooth, soft and no sticky dough (If it’s too sticky add a little flour otherwise add more water). Knead for about 20 minutes.
Let rest for 5 minutes, cover your pizza pan with baking paper and roll out the dough.

Pizza al taglio dough

Cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to avoid the dough from drying and let rise for at least 2 hours (4 if using mother yeast).

Pizza al taglio dressing

Dress pizza with tomato sauce, other ingredients and mozzarella.

Pizza al taglio ready

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Pizza al taglio soft doughy

Pizza al Taglio, done!

IMPORTANT tips to know:

If you are using fresh or dry yeast (not mother yeast), I suggest you to greatly reduce the amount of yeast in recipes and, as a consequence, to extend the rising time.
A slow fermentation allow a better maturation of the dough with more digestible, more flavorful and tastier pizzas.
So here are the times I suggest you for 500 grams/18 ounces/4 cups of flour (that usually require 10 grams/1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast for 2 hours of rising time):

  • 4 h of rising time -> use 1/2 amount of yeast;
  • 6 h of rising time -> use 1/4 amount of yeast;
  • 8 h of rising time -> use 1/8 amount of yeast;
  • 10 h of rising time -> use 1/16 amount of yeast;
  • ……

Here’s an example: if you want your dough to rise in 6 hours use 2,5 grams / 1/4 tbsp of granulated dry yeast or 6,25 grams / 1/8 tbsp of fresh yeast.

Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice (Italian Pizza al Taglio)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice like those you can find in an Italian bakery.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the dough
  • 130 grams / 4.6 ounces / ½ cup milk (or water if you want a lighter version)
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 1 cup water* (less if using a steamed potato read below)
  • 10 grams / 1 tbsp granulated active dry yeast or 25 grams / ½ tbsp fresh yeast or 140 grams / 5 ounces mother yeast
  • 20 grams / 1½ tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 20 grams / ¼ cup instant mashed potatoes flour or 1 steamed and peeled potato (in this case use less water*)
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour (or pizza/bread flour)
  • 10 grams / 1 full tsp sugar
  • 10 grams / 1½ tsp salt
For the topping
  • 1 cup plain chopped tomatoes sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste
  • other ingredients to your taste
  • fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces (making big pieces is important to prevent mozzarella from burning during the cooking time)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 230°C / 450°F / gas mark 8.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water and/or milk, sugar and butter, then mix all the ingredients (add the remain water and salt at last) to form a smooth, soft and no sticky dough (If it’s too sticky add a little flour otherwise add more water).
  3. Knead for about 20 minutes.
  4. Let rest for 5 minutes, cover your pizza pan with baking paper and roll out the dough.
  5. Cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to avoid the dough from drying and let rise for at least 2 hours (4 if using mother yeast).
  6. Dress pizza with tomato sauce, other ingredients to your taste and mozzarella.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.

 

Vera Pizza Napoletana (Real Neapolitan Pizza)

I’m really a pizza addict. For about 5 years I tried to achieve every information, every secret to be able to make a delicious Neapolitan pizza at home quite like those you eat in pizzeria…. with success.


vera pizza napoletana real neapolitan pizza best italian

It’s not as difficult as it seems, it takes more to write it and when you have all the information in your mind you’ll go faster.

In the web there are lots of pizza recipes, but what I’m writing here is based on the real pizza napoletana disciplinary that contains technical specifications (here you can find the whole text: http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/public/pdf/disciplinare%202008%20UK.pdf).

As written in the disciplinary, the “vera pizza napoletana” (real Neapolitan pizza) should be soft, flexible, easy to fold like a booklet, with the typical taste coming from well-grown/well-baked and bread-taste crust mixed with the slightly acidic flavour of tomato sauce and the respective aroma of oregano and garlic or basil and cooked mozzarella flavour.

The cooking method is very important for the final result so you must use a pizza baking stone.
pizza baking stone neapolitanYou can find it in home centers or in online shops.

Vera Pizza Napoletana (Real Neapolitan Pizza)

Difficulty: hard
Preparation: 6 to 10 hours Cooking Time: 3 to 5 minutes
Yield: 10 to 15 servings

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 liters / 2.2 lbs water (spring if possible)
  • 50-55 grams / 1.7-1.9 ounces sea salt
  • 3 grams / 0.10 ounces hydrated yeast (you can also use 425-450 grams / 15-15.80 ounces mother yeast or 0.84 grams active dry yeast)
  • 1.7-1.8 Kg / 3.7-3.9 lbs all-purpose flour

…Yes you don’t have to use olive oil!

Condiments:

  • plain chopped tomato sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste
  • oregano and a slice of garlic or few basil leaves (I prefer using just basil)
  • fridge-chilled fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces (making big pieces and use a fridge-chilled mozzarella is important to prevent pizza from become watery during the cooking time)

These ingredients are for 10 to 15 pizzas, I suggest you to reduce quantities by a half.

Instructions:

Put water into a mixer, add salt and 10% of flour (170-180 grams / 6-6.3 ounces).
Add yeast, start the mixer and phase the rest of flour in.
Let knead the dough for at least 20/30 minutes, it should be soft, smooth and no sticky.

Let rest the dough for 2 hours covered with a plastic-wrap at 25°C/77°F (I put it in the oven and switch on the light).

Cut the dough into 180-250 grams / 6.3-6.8 ounces pieces and shape them into balls (I usually cut them into 200 grams / 7 ounces).
For each ball, stretch the top down and around the rest of the ball until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together and make a smooth ball.
Put your balls stitch-side down in a rising tray (alimentary case) dusted with flour and cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to prevent the ball from drying out (space out balls 8 cm /3 inches).

Let rise 4-6 hours.

pizza balls

Dust with flour the work bench and put a dough ball on it. Flip it over.
With a motion from the center to the outside, and with the pressure of the fingers of both the hands on the dough ball, shape into a thin flat disk and remind to DO NOT TOUCH THE EDGES or you won’t have your pizza napoletana crust (center is no more thick than 0.3cm/0.11 inches and edge is not more than 1-2 cm / 0.4-0.8 inches).

home pizza ball stretch pizza

how stretching pizzahow make home pizza movement

DO NOT use rolling-pin because the air included in the dough has to move from the centre towards the outer edge.

Cooking procedures (at home)

Put the pizza baking stone over the top rack of the oven.
Preheat oven to the highest possible temperature for at least 30 minutes (static).

3 minutes before putting pizza in the oven, switch the oven to the broil setting (switch on the grill). This allow to increase the stone temperature. (in pizzeria oven has to reach 485°C/905°F and pizza cooks in 60-90 seconds).

Return to the static setting when cooking pizza.

Take a pizza pan, put it upside down, or you can take an aluminium pizza peel (I do not suggest to use a wood one because pizza won’t slide easily into the oven), dust it with flour.

Lay down pizza into it and quickly add tomato sauce, mozzarella and other ingredients to your taste. Doing this quickly is important to prevent the dough from sticking onto the surface.

making pizza at home neapolitan pizza making

Quickly open the oven, let slide pizza into the pizza baking stone, close the oven.
Let cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the crust is quite crispy and has lost its white color (do not open the oven for the first 1-2 minutes).
Open the oven, put a fork in to the crust and slide out pizza into a plate.
Taste it…. isn’t it so delicious???

Pizza baking stone makes a huge difference in the taste of your home-made Neapolitan pizza, so I suggest you to really buy one, it’s worth.

authentic neapoletan vera pizza napoletana best

Remember… “home-made strikes back!

Vera Pizza Napoletana (Real Neapolitan Pizza)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Authentic Neapolitan Pizza Recipe at home like in Pizzeria
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 10
Ingredients
For the dough
  • 1 liters / 2.2 lbs water (spring if possible)
  • 50-55 grams / 1.7-1.9 ounces sea salt
  • 3 grams / 0.10 ounces hydrated yeast (or 425-450 grams / 15-15.80 ounces mother yeast or 0.84 grams active dry yeast)
  • 1.7-1.8 Kg / 3.7-3.9 lbs all-purpose flour
Condiments
  • plain chopped tomato sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste OR oregano and a slice of garlic OR few basil leaves (I prefer using just basil)
  • fridge-chilled fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces
Instructions
To make the dough
  1. Put water into a mixer, add salt and 10% of flour (170-180 grams / 6-6.3 ounces).
  2. Add yeast, start the mixer and phase the rest of flour in.
  3. Let knead the dough for at least 20/30 minutes, it should be soft, smooth and no sticky.
  4. Let rest the dough for 2 hours covered with a plastic-wrap at 25°C/77°F (I put it in the oven and switch on the light).
  5. Cut the dough into 180-250 grams / 6.3-6.8 ounces pieces and shape them into balls (I usually cut them into 200 grams / 7 ounces).
  6. For each ball, stretch the top down and around the rest of the ball until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together and make a smooth ball.
  7. Put your balls stitch-side down in a rising tray (alimentary case) dusted with flour and cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to prevent the ball from drying out (space out balls 8 cm /3 inches).
  8. Let rise 4-6 hours.
  9. Dust with flour the work bench and put a dough ball on it. Flip it over.
  10. With a motion from the center to the outside, and with the pressure of the fingers of both the hands on the dough ball, shape into a thin flat disk and remind to DO NOT TOUCH THE EDGES or you won’t have your pizza napoletana crust (center is no more thick than 0.3cm/0.11 inches and edge is not more than 1-2 cm / 0.4-0.8 inches).
  11. DO NOT use a rolling-pin
Cooking procedures at home
  1. Put the pizza baking stone over the top rack of the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to the highest possible temperature for at least 30 minutes (static).
  3. minutes before putting pizza in the oven, switch the oven to the broil setting (switch on the grill). This allow to increase the stone temperature (in pizzeria oven has to reach 485°C/905°F and pizza cooks in 60-90 seconds).
  4. Return to the static setting when cooking pizza.
  5. Take a pizza pan, put it upside down, or you can take an aluminium pizza peel (I do not suggest to use a wood one because pizza won’t slide easily into the oven), dust it with flour.
  6. Lay down pizza into it and quickly add tomato sauce, mozzarella and other ingredients to your taste. Doing this quickly is important to prevent the dough from sticking onto the surface.
  7. Quickly open the oven, let slide pizza into the pizza baking stone, close the oven.
  8. Let cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the crust is quite crispy and has lost its white color (do not open the oven for the first 1-2 minutes).
  9. Open the oven, put a fork in to the crust and slide out pizza into a plate.