Category Archives: baking

Goddess of Fertility Day

Pupazza of the chestnut forest

Yes there is such a day, and no way was I going to let it go by without mention of the extra-endowed Pupazza Frascatana. More than a decade ago we visited Pasticceria Purificato in the town of Frascati (Rome) where these cookies originated. Standing at about 10-inches tall, they’re symbolic of abundance and fertility, just the thing we all look forward to with spring equinox in a few days. Unfortunately the shop doesn’t sell online, so I put together a quick recipe based on various descriptions and basically cut my pupazza freehand.

Check out this video of how they make the pupazza at Pasticceria Purificato (subtitled).

The original recipe lists honey, oil, orange extract, flour and that’s it. These are very firm cookies (the texture reminded me of teething biscuits!), perfect for dipping in coffee or wine. This is what I did:

4 oz. butter (113 grams or 1/2 cup)
8 oz. millefiori honey (225 grams or 3/4 cup)
2 1/4 cup “00” flour (roughly 330 grams)

Gently warm the butter until melted. Remove from heat and add the honey; stir to combine well. Add the flour all at once and mix to a smooth texture. Divide dough into thirds and roll each directly onto baking parchment (pre-sized to fit baking sheet) to approximately 1/4-inch or 5 mm. Cut out desired shapes with cookies cutters or a pastry wheel. Remove dough scraps, slide parchment onto baking sheet, and bake at 180°C/350°F for 12-15 minutes until light brown around the edges.

You can reroll the scraps, but if the dough has firmed up too much, zap in the microwave at 10-second intervals to soften. Cool baked cookies completely and store in an airtight container.

I guess I’m on a ricotta roll…

Crostata with ricotta, coffee, and Sambuca

A couple of days after I vowed to brave the heat of the kitchen and bake like nobody’s business, the day temps dropped just enough to make life bearable and rainclouds arrived to drench our sun-parched surroundings. I used the broiler element, made pizza, bread, baked a mussel and rice casserole, and lastly, Casatella Terracinese, another crostata from one of my favorite blogs on Italian cuisine – Polenta e Baccala. This one mentions the use of sheep’s milk ricotta but I used the regular type, undrained, and flavored it with the coffee, cocoa powder, cinnamon and Sambuca called for in the recipe. I used my own sweet pie dough pastry as I prefer less sugar.

If you have time, do take a look and read more about this dessert from southern Italy. It is so good that it does not last long in our house.