An Abruzzese light and tasty must-try dish that rivals the region’s beloved arrosticini for fame are Pizzelle, Cancellate, Neole or Ferratelle depending on which of the provinces you are in.
In Abruzzo, it is Nonna (Grandma) that makes these waffle-like cookies whose soft, hard or chewy texture depends on each family’s preference. Her craft relies upon being able to treasure the old, and the ugly whilst possessing a healthy disdain of electric devices. Pizzelle need to be cooked on an antique, well-seasoned iron cast on a high heat on the stove. Pizzelle from a new iron cast are rather like coffee from a new espresso pot disgusting! In an ideal world, you need a pizzelle iron that has been handed down generation to generation, if not practice daily for 2-3 years and it may bring something decent!
Try heart shaped pizzelle on St Valentine’s Day obviously a kind Grandmother makes pizzelle especially for Christmas, Easter, all of her grandchildren’s birthdays and over the summer for breakfast, an afternoon snack, picnics and holidays on the beach.
- 12 Eggs
- 500 g Caster Sugar
- 600 g 00 Flour
- 150 g Olive Oil
- 20 g Baking Powder
- To make the batter beat the eggs and sugar in a ceramic bowl (in Abruzzese dialect, you call it vazzìa). Slowly beat in the Olive Oil. No electric mixer is required: you just need the big fork that is usually used for pasta (a forchettone).
- Maria always adds either lemon zest or anise to her pizzelle batter at this stage to make them even tastier (use only one of these at a time), adjust to suit your personal taste.
- Slowly sieve (setaccio) the combined flour and baking powder into your egg mixture and beat well to get plenty of air into the mix. Grandmother’s make this seem very easy but expect your wrists to begin aching after 5 minutes or so!
- Heat the iron on the stove, grease it with a little olive oil and add a generous spoon of your batter. Remove the excess batter with a fork (and remember like Nonna to always clean the stove when you finish!).
- Lay the cooked pizzelle on the table as they will dry faster.
- If you want to fill a pizzella do this whilst it is hot and then roll it up. If you do it cold they will break! Fill with grape jam like the Abruzzese sugarless Scrucchijata or with chocolate nut cream (the one everybody knows).
Nuisia Raridi is a recent graduate in Italian philology, linguistics and literary traditions and creator of Nu Post. Writing is her primary passion and purpose in life, but tradition is surely the second. Since she was a child she has had the image of her grandmother making, preparing and often talking about recipes or telling stories about the past, the people and the traditions of her region and country. She has decided to hand these down through her new Facebook initiative and share with as many people as possible the beauty she saw, listened to and lived.