The Magazine about Sorrento Peninsula
Categories Food

It’s not Easter without pastiera

The origins of pastiera – the authentic and sumptuous dessert eaten at Easter in the Campania Region – are shrouded in legends, dating back to ancient times. The first one narrates of a sudden storm that forced some fishermen to stay at sea, battered by the waves, for one day and one night. Once back on the mainland, they said they had been able to survive by eating the “pasta di ieri” (yesterday’s pasta) from which the term “pastiera” would derive. That pasta was made with ricotta cheese, eggs, wheat and flavourings. The dish had given new life to the four fishermen, by saving them from the storm. Since then, the pastiera was considered a sign of re-birth. Another legend goes that this typical regional dessert was a gift that the inhabitants of the Gulf of Naples had given to the mermaid Partenope. She had chosen the area as her home, and she emerged from water in the spring season to gladden the residents with her voice. One day, the mermaid’s voice sounded so smooth and melodious that Naples’ folks decided to express their gratitude for such sweetness by donating the most precious things they had: flour, ricotta cheese, eggs, soft wheat boiled in milk, orange blossom water, spices and sugar.

The mermaid was keen to accept the delicacies and, after diving again into the depths, she brought them to the gods. The gods themselves mixed the ingredients, thus creating the first pastiera. Sorrento Style #1