Mama Maria’s Italian Easter specialities

Image above: Maria and Mario at Mari’s Deli on Chiswick Mall; photograph Frank Noon

Mamma Maria and her son Mario run Mari’s deli and cafe on Chsiwick Mall. Mama Maria does a lot of the cooking and this week she’s been preparing pastiera and Casatiello for Easter.

Images above: Mario and Maria preparing pastiera

Alina from Mari’s Deli tells us:

“The Neapolitan pastiera was a typical dessert for the Easter Sunday in Campania, but nowadays it is prepared all year long. It is too good to be enjoyed only at Easter! It is a delicious pie prepared with pasta frolla (Italian pie dough) filled with grano cotto (cooked wheat kernels), ricotta cheese, candied fruits, eggs and sugar.

“A key ingredient is the grano cotto, a staple in the baking section of every Southern Italian grocery store, sometimes even labeled “per pastiera”. Another key ingredient is fresh ricotta, either cow’s milk ricotta or, more common in Campania, goat’s or buffalo’s milk ricotta. Orange flowers’ water gives a unique flavor; if you cannot find it you can substitute with freshly grated orange zest.”

Images above: Casatiello at Mari’s Deli, Chsiwick Mall

“Casatiello is a traditional Easter celebratory special bread of Naples. It is a rich brioche type of dough made with eggs and butter that is studded throughout with cheese and salami.”

Mari’s Deli ia a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. Their spring offer until the end of May is a 10 % discount for each slice of cake+coffee or tea.

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