- On 25 May 2020
- In Food of Sicily
The best desserts a Palermo are born of the hands of monks
Monks and Pastries, an Ancient Bond
Palermo desserts, most of them, were born from the caring and hardworking hands of cloistered nuns!
Prepared in the monasteries they were served to the public through a special wheel in the wall and paid in advance by means of a scoop pushed out of the grates, they were ordered and prepared instantly.
The nuns of the various monasteries of the city of Palermo, in addition to the strict observance of the rules, used to sell small delicacies that they made with secret recipes or invented from time to time. Rich and imaginative desserts, in a real explosion of colors and flavors that combined sapiently the beauty and the tasty.
Loved by all the Palermo citizens, who did not miss the opportunity to buy the pastries for family parties or special holidays, because they gave a guarantee of authenticity and were cheap.
The genuine ingredients used were flour, sugar, eggs, ricotta, almonds, honey, pistachio, hazelnuts, dried fruit, and are all products of the nature of the island and therefore always available.
Almost all the monasteries had their specialty which has been handed down into the hands of modern pastry chefs.
Desserts, bakeries and sweet in Palermo
There is no religious festival in Palermo or family celebration that is not celebrated with a dessert or a traditional dish, because the nuns in addition to preparing the desserts, were good in cooking delicacies of our millenary dominations.
Cannoli, Cassatelle salma pastries filled up with Ricotta cheese or le Teste di Turco or Turkish heads, it is a typical spoon dessert prepared especially in the municipality of Castelbuono, in the province of Palermo. In many places on the island with the same name, sweets with different recipes are indicated.
A popular legend tells that this dessert was developed centuries ago on the occasion of the defeat of the Arabs by the Normans and that the citizens celebrated the liberation with the preparation of this typical dessert.
The turkish head is made up of a thin sheet of fried dough and a very delicate milk cream flavored with cinnamon and lemon.
For Christmas time the nuns use to prepare a dessert with sweet dough: flour and sugar, finely chopped almonds, flavored with honey, orange juice or cinnamon.
These pastries were called the mustazzola and stuffed with pistachio preserve.
A similar mixture was also used to make the “ossa di mortu” or bone of the dead, typical for the recurrence of the deceased, the 2nd of November.
They are prepared with an hard dough pasta and a white part obtained from egg whites mounted on the snow, where skeletal parts of the human body are represented.
La Cuccia is a typical dessert made for the fest of Saint Lucy on December 13th. It is made with soaked and boiled wheat, and later sweetened with ricotta cheese and candied cream, many legends related to periods of famine are linked to this ancient cake tradition.