These dishes which I describe have been passed down from mother to daughter on scraps of yellowing paper, recipes that preserve our identity as a family.
I especially love the recipes which are handed down orally, measured simply in cups, or by “take as much flour as you need”. One of these is the recipe for the famous di Cristofaro Pizzelle!
Pizzelle are the most popular sweet treat in Abruzzo. They are made for all festive occasions and are an essential part of all wedding banquets.
Pizzelle of Peppengelo (the nickname of my family) were recognized throughout the village because they were unique. Our iron was hand-made by the oldest master blacksmith in the village, who created a work of art that has been jealously guarded and handed down from generation to generation.
The special feature is the diamond-shaped “design” that the iron was given. The indentations of the design had to be the right depth, otherwise the pizzelle were too “thick” and the resulting quantity too few to serve all the guests.
Another important element of the iron were the initials of the family who commissioned the ‘”work of art”, placed at the centre of the iron; in my case ADC for Aldo di Cristofaro.
The individual recipes themselves were often named after people or their families.
To bake these cakes you need an iron – a tool that every abruzzese grandmother and aunt has at home.
The iron can have many forms and can also be personalised with the initials of the family.
This is one we found and liked on Amazon.com – guaranteed to ship internationally, in case the one you found at the Sulmona market was too heavy for your luggage!
- 6 eggs
- enough flour
- seed oil (12 tablespoons)
- sugar (6 tablespoons)
- lemon zest
- orange zest
- one sachet of yeast with vanilla
- Vanilla yeast is only available in Italy - substitute with one teaspoon of baking powder and a dash of vanilla essence if you can't find it in stores
To learn how to make pizzelle and meet our chef Antonella, her mother Dora and daughter Mariadora you can join one of our cooking classes: click here for more information.