November 14, 2013

Cake Boss’ Italian Wheat Pie

Buddy Valastro's Wheat Pie Are you a Cake Boss fan? Because I am. Obviously I agree with everyone that Buddy is incredibly talented and his baking creations look divine and all that, but I also fully enjoy watching him lose his temper and start flippin’ out on everyone. It’s just pure entertainment. Plus he gets those bulgy, crazy eyes. I mention this because I made one of his recipes this weekend, and ALSO came very close to having a genuine Cake Boss-level freak-out. Allow me to elaborate. 

My hubby and I were watching Cake Boss recently—the Thanksgiving edition, to be exact—and Buddy baked up an incredible looking Italian Wheat Pie. Now, I had never, ever heard of a wheat pie, and upon first hearing the name, you may be tempted to think it’s made of some healthy whole-wheat crust or some other nonsense, but I assure you that it is not. Not that I’m opposed to healthy food. I’m not. But a healthy pie that tastes good? Ain’t never heard of such a thing. Where was I? Oh yes. Wheat pie. I learned from Buddy that a wheat pie is a traditional Italian pie, made with a sweet sugarcookie-like crust with a ricotta cheesecake-y filling with chewy wheat berries, and fresh lemon and orange zest incorporated throughout. Now that sounds like a pie, wouldn’t you say?!

So back to my Cake Boss freak-out. Let me just tell you now that if—and hopefully when—you make this pie, DO place a baking pan underneath it!! I did not do this, since it was my first time baking the thing, and bits of the sugarcookie crust spilled down onto the floor of the oven and caused black smoke to fill my stamp-sized apartment, which, you should know, STILL smells like smoke three days later. Poor ventilation, you see. So just use the baking pan please and save yourselves.

First things first. Rinse and strain wheat berries.

Wheat berries

Place wheat in a pot, toss in some salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 2 hours until soft and chewy.

Strain ‘em, rinse ‘em, and mix some butter in with ‘em, then refrigerate.


Now, let’s make the Pasta Frolla, the cookie-like crust for the pie! In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Then add vanilla, honey, baking soda, and baking powder until mixed completely. Now zest in some lemon to brighten up the flavors. Don’t you love lemon zest?

Mix ingredients

Yes, I’m a Bosch girl forever.

Add cold water and flour, and mix on slow speed until all the ingredients are nicely mixed and well-acquainted.

Buddy Valastro's Wheat Pie mixed up

Flour a surface, place the Pasta Frolla on top, and shape it into a flat square.

Pasta Frolla into square shape

Wrap it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate that baby!

Plastic wrap dough

Now for the filling! In a large-ish bowl, add ricotta, sugar, more lemon zest (yay), orange zest, 2 cups of cooked wheat berries, and this stuff right here:

Orange blossom waterOrange blossom water. You can find it here, or at a local health foods store. It’s a lovely fruity distillation that will make your pie fresh and citrusy.

Give this a big stir, then add three eggs, one at a time, while stirring in-between.

Buddy Valastro's Wheat Pie

When you’re ready to assemble your pie, roll out about 2/3 of your chilled Pasta Frolla on a floured surface to make the bottom crust.


Pour in the filling.

Pie Filling

Now roll out the leftover crust about ¼ inch think to make the top lattice strips.

Cut lattice strips about ¾ inch wide, and starting in the middle, lay 5 strips across the top of the pie filling, then 5 more strips at an angle, over the top of that.

Roll out DSC_0098 DSC_0102

Now, read closely, so that you don’t have a freak-out like I did. PLACE A BAKING SHEET BELOW THE PIE, and then bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. You may not need the baking sheet in the end, but let us take no risks here, else you hate me forever for making your typically very lovely home smell of burnt baked goods for the next month.

Pie is finished once set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature, then serve.

Note: I think I might try this without the wheat next time. If you’re a strict traditionalist, then use the wheat, it is still delicious! But I think I will either leave it out, or replace it with chocolate chips next time. Like an orange-chocolate pie. MMM…

Buddy Valastro's Wheat Pie

Buddy Valastro’s Italian Wheat Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This traditional Italian pie has a bright citrus flavor with ricotta filling and chewy wheat berries.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 10
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. honey
  • 1/16 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/16 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. orange zest
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries, with 2 T. butter mixed in
  • 3 T. orange blossom water
  • 3 large eggs
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Mix in vanilla, honey, baking soda, baking powder, and lemon zest. Then add water and flour and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Place dough on a floured surface and flatten down into a square.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, sugar, lemon zest, orange zest, cooked wheat berries, and orange blossom water.
  8. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in-between.
  9. To assemble the pie:
  10. Roll out ⅔ of the Pasta Frolla on a floured surface about ¼ inch thick for the bottom crust, and place into a pie tin.
  11. Pour in pie filling.
  12. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into ¾ inch strips for the lattice strips.
  13. Starting with the middle strip, lay 5 strips across one way, then lay 5 more strips at an angle over the top.
  14. Place a cookie sheet underneath the pie and cook for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees or until set and a toothpick comes out clean.
  15. Serve at room temperature.


  1. Natalie

    I just made this pie and the dough is horrible. IT was too soft to work with and kept breaking. I make pies often and never encountered such an issue. Next time I’ll use my pie crust recipe.

    • Katelyn

      Hi Natalie,
      I’m sorry this was hard for you. To be honest, while I thought the sugar cookie-like crust was delicious in the end, it was difficult for me to work with too. But I just had to try the Cake Boss’ famous Italian Pie recipe at least once, so I worked my way through it! :) Now that I’ve tried it though, and while I liked it, I’m with you–I’ll probably stick with my regular pie crust recipe in the future.

  2. Ed

    If you leave out the wheat and add chocolate chips than your making italian Easter pie or italian sweet pie.we made this in my family for Easter for years.

    • Katelyn

      Great tip! Thanks a lot!

  3. Stephanie

    I do 3/4c butter and 2 1/4 c flour and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hrs and the dough is no more difficult to work with than a shortbread. Also, refrigerate the panned crust and the remainder of the dough for lattice top for about an hour, then pour in the filling and cut the lattice. It must be cold! Then, pop in the oven before it warms up.

    • Katelyn

      Great advice, Stephanie! Cold dough is SO much easier to work with. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Jaime Muckey

    Might be a silly question. I really would like to try this recipe for my Easter dinner. When it says ricotta… you mean like the ricotta you use for like a lasagna or is there a baking ricotta?

    • Laura

      Same ricotta cheese as for lasagna, happy baking!

      • Katelyn

        Yes, Laura is correct. Same ricotta cheese as for lasagna. Good luck and Happy Easter!

        • Paul

          Drain it in a colander to dry it out

  5. Marie Zafonte

    Made the Eater Wheat Pie yesterday and it took a lot longer to cook. Center was not set.My crust around the rim browned too much. I made this last year, delicious, and our family has always had it. Yes the dough is soft. I refrigerated and rolled it out on parchment paper. Easy to flip over. Will try less butter and more flour next time. Asti products sell canned wheat, already cooked. My mom would cook fresh wheat and it would be hard as a rock at times. Serve with powdered sugar.

    • RVHunt

      A true Italian would never use a regular pie crust for this Wheat Pie! My recipe for Pasta Frolla works beautifully–have used it for the past several years: 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, pinch salt, 1/2 cup butter (room temp) 2 eggs & 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind. Mix flour, sugar & salt together & make a well in center on pastry board. Place eggs, butter & lemon rind in well & work quickly. Do not add water. When smooth, shape in a ball and chill for at least 30 min. or more.. Its a short but very manageable dough that tastes great with the wheat pie. **My tip: instead of going thru all the trouble to cook the wheat, I buy it in cans or jars at my local Italian grocery (easy to get at Easter time and tastes the same)

  6. JoAnn Dibeler

    I love making totally new things and I’d love to make this but I won’t even cook brown rice because of the time it has to simmer. I can never get it right. So I was happy to find the comment telling about the Asti Products canned wheat berries! I’m going to look that up now. While I wait for it to be delivered I’ll get an orange (have a lemon) and check out where I can get the orange water (but might just use orange extract, which I have?).
    The chocolate chip substitution will be next. However, as lovely as the sugar cookie crust sounds, I’ll be using my stand-by HEB refrigerated pie crust.

  7. Hey Guys, cure for the crust problem, fridge the dough for couple of hours or over night and you have to sing Italian songs and it will roll out just fine, when you bake, keep the wine bottle close by. It worked for my Grand Ma and that was 50 years ago.

  8. Debra DePinto

    What size pie plate do you use for this. I tried it last year and the plate was too small. Had quite a mess and it took forever to cook. Looked awful but tasted great.

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