The pasticciotti are a typical Salento cake.
If we think of Naples we immediately think of the Babà or of the Neapolitan Pastiera. If we think of Sicily we imagine the Cannoli, but what about Salento? Well, obviously it’s the Pasticciotto!
The pasticciotti are a typical Salento cake. They are so unique and delicious that whoever goes to Salento must go to a local pastry shop and buy one! The pasticciotto has been acknowledged as the typical cake of the Lecce area and has also been inserted in the national list of traditional products.
There are many stories about how this delicacy originated. Local history experts say that the first traces of the existence of the pasticciotto date back to the 700s. Experts in cuisine say that it is a spin-off of other cakes such as the Bocconotto and the Fruttone or the Barchiglia, which are similar cakes also with an oval shape. A legend says that it originated from the remains of a baker’s and for this reason it is called “pasticcio” (a mess).
But we are not effectively interested in all this, because the pasticciotto has some very peculiar characteristics that make it an irresistible temptation. It’s made from white shortbread with crème patissière and black cherries (the classical version), or with chocolate cream or other creative variations. It is cooked in oval baking tins to give it its particular shape. The pasticciotto has seduced both simple and refined palates. It is a treat for adults and children alike, and is a surprise for tourists and the taste of home for local inhabitants.
The traditional recipe is with lard which gives it the traditional taste of rural cuisine and there are people who swear that the traditional recipe must be with black cherries, while others whisper that the secret is a pinch of vanilla in the dough, but every pastry shop in Salento has its own tasty and original variation. It’s up to you to taste a different one every day! The unique and inimitable aroma of a hot pasticciotto will seduce you long before its taste does.
It is unmissable in the morning instead of brioches and croissants. You can have it for breakfast in our area as well, or you could eat it for tea while lying comfortably on a beach in Leuca, or strolling along the historic centre, or sitting in a bar sipping coffee. Nothing will make you taste the soul of Salento like sitting in a bar downtown on a sunny afternoon with coffee and pasticciotto while laughing and joking in good company. That’s why the inhabitants of Salento are so sweet, hospitable and full of joy, because they are simple and enjoyable like their beloved cake.
If you are in our area at the end of July, don’t miss the Feast of the Lecce Pasticciotto in Surano, which is at its tenth edition, for the great joy of strangers and locals. It is a real celebration of this cake, proposed in many variations to please everyone, even those who could not eat it, like people suffering from celiac disease or vegans. It is an evening full of fun and taste accompanied by lots of traditional popular music: the ‘pizzica’ played by the most famous bands of popular Salento music.