Apr 1, 2024

Discovering Italian traditions: Pastiera Napoletana

On Pasquetta, Easter Monday,
many Italians enjoy this delicious dessert

Imagine a day when vibrant Italian culture comes to life, not just through words in a classroom but through the delicious aromas of traditional pastry and the shared joy of community gatherings. This is the essence of Pasquetta in Italy, a day that extends the Easter celebrations with outings, picnics, and, of course, the iconic Pastiera Napoletana. 

At the Istituto Italiano Scuola, we believe in diving deep into the heart of Italy through its language and culinary wonders, which is why we love to share stories and traditions with you. Just a few days ago, in fact, in collaboration with our dear pastry chef, Giovanni Liguoro of Poesia Caffe, we set out on an educational and delicious journey, creating the perfect Pastiera in an experience that left our students thrilled and eager for more gatherings together. 

During the workshop, which was more than just a simple cooking lesson, we delved into the complex process of creating the perfect Pastiera. The air was filled with laughter, the rich aroma of oranges, and the warmth of shared experiences. Each step, from mixing the ricotta to shaping the pastry crust, was a lesson on the Italian history and a testament to the art of traditional baking. Our students, from beginners to advanced Italian speakers, found common ground in their passion for culture, proving that language learning is most effective when it touches the heart. 

And they also learnt a lot about this time of the year in Italy. 

But what is Pasquetta? 

Pasquetta, or Easter Monday, is celebrated the day after Easter Sunday.

While Easter is steeped in tradition and religious ceremonies, Pasquetta is all about enjoying the arrival of spring in the company of friends and family. Throughout Italy, people head to the countryside, the sea, or city parks, equipped with baskets full of food, ready to spend the day in joyful picnics. This tradition beautifully illustrates the Italian ethos of community, leisure, and the simple pleasures of life.

It’s a day that reminds us that learning Italian isn’t just about mastering verbs and vocabulary; it’s about embracing a culture that finds joy in being together and in celebration.

At the heart of Pasquetta’s celebrations lies a dessert as rich in flavor as it is in history: the Pastiera Napoletana. This beloved Neapolitan sweet combines a fragrant mix of ricotta, candied fruit, and grains soaked in orange blossom water, enclosed in a buttery shortcrust pastry shell.

Legend says that the Pastiera was first created by a Neapolitan mermaid, who mixed the sea’s most beautiful voices with flour, ricotta, eggs, and wheat, creating this divine dessert as a gift to the people of Naples. The preparation of Pastiera is an art, a ritual that begins on Good Friday to allow the flavors to blend and mature by Easter Sunday. It symbolizes rebirth and abundance, resonating deeply with the spirit of spring. Through the Pastiera, we learn more than just a recipe; we immerse ourselves in Italian traditions, understanding the stories and love poured into every ingredient. 

Are you ready to embrace our Italian way to learn Italian?

Join us for our next adventure into the heart of the Italian traditions. Whether it’s with an Italian course or one of our Events, we have something to ignite every passion. Contact us to learn more about our upcoming offers. Let’s begin this beautiful journey together. 

Pastiera Recipe by Giovanni Liguoro

Pastry Dough


  •  500 grams butter 
  • 200 grams sugar 
  • 140 grams whole eggs 
  • 3 grams salt 
  • 750 grams flour 

Start by mixing butter and sugar until well combined. 

Add whole eggs and continue mixing. 

Gradually incorporate flour and salt until the dough is homogeneous. 




  • 300 grams boiled soft wheat 
  • 300 grams ricotta cheese 
  • 300 grams sugar 
  • 5 eggs 
  • Zest of 2 lemons 
  • Zest of 2 oranges 
  • 3 drops orange flower essential oil 

Blend the boiled soft wheat, ricotta cheese, and sugar until smooth. 

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly. 

Combine the beaten eggs with the blended mixture. 

Add lemon zest, orange zest, and orange flower essential oil to the mixture. Mix well. 

Note: Be sure to mix the eggs thoroughly before adding them to the other ingredients. 


Assembly and Baking 

 Preheat the oven to 370°F (190°C). 

Roll out the pastry dough and line a baking dish with it. 

Pour the filling mixture onto the pastry-lined dish. 

Bake the Pastiera cake at 370°F (190°C) for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 290°F (145°C) and continue baking for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is set. 

Once baked, allow the Pastiera to cool before serving.

Enjoy your traditional Italian dessert! 

Buona Pasqua from the IIS Team!