Italian Wheat Pie

The Italian Wheat Pie Recipe is traditionally served for Easter brunch. While it is sweet, it is not overly cloying. The trick is planning ahead, because the wheat needs to soak overnight.

Makes one deep-dish 10-inch pie, 8 to 10 slices

½ cup grano wheat
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoons sugar
3 extra-large eggs
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, melted and cooled

2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
10 large eggs
3 pounds ricotta
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

Place the grano in a medium saucepan and cover with water until it is thoroughly immersed. Let it soak at room temperature for 24 hours. To prepare the pie shell, combine the flour and sugar in a medium bowl and toss them together.

Add the 3 eggs, mixing them in well, but with a light touch to avoid overworking the dough. Once the dough begins to crumble into pea-size pieces, add the butter, using your fingertips to incorporate. If the dough feels dry and is difficult to work, add a little cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you are able to easily form the dough into a ball.

Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. When the dough is chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and divide the dough in half, reserving one half of the dough for the lattice topping.

Roll out one half with a rolling pin until it forms a 12-inch circle, approximately ¼ inch thick. Fold the circle in half, place it in a deep-dish 10-inch pie plate so that the edges of the circle drop over the rim, and unfold the dough to completely cover the pie plate. Using your thumb and index finger, crimp the edges of the pie shell.

To prepare the filling, strain the water from the saucepan. Add new water, once again thoroughly covering the wheat. Place the saucepan on the heat and boil the wheat for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the wheat is tender and cooked through. Drain the water from the pan.

Add 1 cup of the sugar, the vanilla, and cinnamon, stirring them into the soaked wheat. Set aside, letting the wheat mixture cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the 10 eggs until they are lightly beaten. Add the ricotta and the remaining 1 cup sugar and mix, stopping often to scrape the sides of the bowl. If you want to add raisins to this recipe, add them into the mixture now. Add the cooled wheat mixture and mix on medium again until all the ingredients are well combined.

To assemble the pie, pour the filling into the pie shell, distributing it evenly. Roll out the second half of the dough, again to about ¼-inch thickness. Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut the round into ¾-inch strips.

Place the strips over the top of the pie filling, lattice style, so that the edges of the strips meet the crimped edges of the pie shell. Ultimately, you want to create a checkerboard effect, with the lattice strips placed both vertically and horizontally across the pie.

To bake, place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pie 180 degrees for even browning. Bake for 25 more minutes, or until the pie is firm in the middle.

Transfer the pie plate to a wire cooling rack and allow the pie to cool completely before serving. Italian Wheat Pie should be served cold or at room temperature. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes and Tips:
Just give yourself a twenty-four-hour head start to let the grano wheat soak, and it’s a breeze from there. This dense yet moist pie can be jazzed up with plump raisins, which add even more texture to this already unique pie. I recommend using a ten-inch deep-dish pie plate for this recipe to fully accommodate the filling.

Italian Wheat Pie
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