Pastiera (Easter rice pie)

About this dish

  • Serves: 12+
  • Time: 3 hrs
  • Method: oven

At Easter, my family makes a rice pie, that’s a kind of a mixture of cheesecake and rice pudding. This recipe is my mother’s, from my maternal grandmother, Nonni C.


For the filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t rum (blends with the vanilla for a nice taste that doesn’t have an overpowering flavor – *light* rum works best)
  • 1 lb. ricotta (not ‘lite’ – this is not a lite dish)
  • 3 C cooked rice (just according to directions, NOT instant rice, not brown, not ‘chinese’, not risotto rice. Plain rice.)
  • 8 oz chopped citron (chop very finely!) you can substitute candied lemon peel

For the crust: (basically a small batch of Italian wedding cookie dough)

  • 2 C flour (more as needed)
  • 1/4 C oil (corn, safflower, etc – light tasting)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • jimmies (sprinkles) (pastel colors – it’s for Easter!!)


  • springform pan (10″)


Preheat oven to 325 F.

The crust is combined and rolled just like a pie crust. Our tradition is to cut it with a wavy-slicer, and make a lattice on the top, aligned with the pan edges.

The filling is just mixed well.

Line the pan, and toast the lining (just like you’d do for a pie). Fill, then top with a lattice of crust (don’t cover it completely). Add some sprinkles (I put lots, of course), AFTER it’s all assembled.

This makes one 10″ springform pan, 1.5″ thick (it puffs up when it cooks, then settles)

Bake at 325 for 1 hour, until crust is golden and liquid has ‘set’. If watery after 1 hour, turn the heat OFF and leave in the oven for up to 30-45 min to set. It’s a custard – it has to set, but it WILL NOT BE DRY.

Let cool **completely** before slicing.