Two more days to Easter Sunday and in Puglia, my land in the Southern Italy everyone will eat “Scarcella”, typical Easter bread. Scarcella is slightly sweet bread type, just enough to give a sweet taste but not enough to make anybody fat. Usually in Puglia we make it in a round shape, as we all know the round shape is the most harmonious of all the shapes and in most cultures is regarded as the shape of fortune. Many shapes and designs also characterize the Scarcella to please the eyes of the receiver. If it is made for kids, the shape might be a small doll, a purse, a car, or an animal shape, just to be playful.
Scarcella goes back to a very remote past, in fact it originated in the Roman Empire, enclosing in itself all the pagan and Christian symbols of Easter.
The raw eggs on top of the bread dough symbolize rebirth and the return to life. The eggs might fill the dough up to 21. Odd numbers are considered propitiatory, thus it’s important to place the eggs in an odd number. Bake the bread full of colorful confetti on top and lemon zest mixed in with the dough to aromatize it. Powdered sugar will cover the Scarcella after the baking to give it a veil of sweetness.
The tradition says that any daughter-in-law will give one Scarcella as a gift to the mother-in-law. More eggs the Scarcella has on it, more are the things the daughter-in-law is asking to be forgiven for. Well, that was in the old days, I am not even sure the new generations of Italians even know what Scarcella is, or if they care to ask for forgiveness through food symbolism. If anybody out there wants to try it here is the recipe:
Mix with 10.5 oz. 00 flour (super-soft flour used for pizza dough) 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3.5 oz. of sugar, a little milk (use a little at a time to make the dough pliable).
Add a pinch of salt and grated lemon peel while working on the dough.
Spread the dough thus prepared to ½ inch in height.
Cut out the shapes you want, keeping the scraps of dough.
On one end of the Scarcella place 1 egg raw with the shell on, or you can spread an odd number of eggs around on the dough.
Cut the scraps of dough into strips and place them in a cross fashion over each egg to help them staying on the dough during baking.
Sprinkle the colored confetti and bake on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake it until golden brown.
If you like, add powder sugar after the bread has cooled down.
This Easter specialty is in my book Sins Of A Queen, on Amazon: http://goo.gl/JA4WMO
Another fun Easter bread and typical in the South of Italy made for this occasion is the “Casatiello”. The procedure of making this bread is the same as any other bread, the only difference is the stuffing.
Mixed in the raw dough there are chopped hard-boiled eggs, various chopped cold cuts meats and cheeses of many types. The quantities for the stuffing are up to your taste.
Taste will improve accordingly, I make mine very happy.
A Pink Moon will characterize this Easter. I just learned about it this morning when I read this article.
I am here to help you with your kitchen design and all the challenges that come with it, but I am here also to design your palate.
Remember that designing a table with colorful food is necessary for the soul and for the eyes just as much as a beautifully designed kitchen.
My next book on the subject of colors: RED-A Voyage Into Colors is in the printing and will be out on the market very soon. Stay tuned for the launch.
If you celebrate it, have a fun and rejuvenated Easter. Ciao,
Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking.
She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms.
Check out her books on this site on the BOOKS page and on