The Befana are also cookies!
1/3/2017

The Befana are also cookies!

The Befana comes at night

in worn out shoes

and patched up skirt,

hooray, hooray for the Befana!

                         Folk Rhyme

 

The Befana also lends its name to the traditional cookie prepared by the families of the Serchio Valley during the Christmas Holidays. Women
and children, as they did long ago, gather in the evening to prepare this typical holiday cookie; beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Time
stands still as this delicious preparation become a ritual
. “Pizzettare”, decorating and kneading are tasks expertly divided between the generations.

 

The Befana of Castelvecchio Pascoli  

Ingredients

 

For the cookie:

Flour 1kg

Sugar 700gr

Butter 250gr

Eggs 6 (of which 1 ½ whites for the marzipan)

Yeast

Orange and lemon zest

 

 

For the Marzipan:

Toasted chopped almonds 300gr

Sugar 280 gr

One and a half egg whites

Orange and lemon zest

Alchèrmes, rum, cognac, sassolino

 

 

Directions

Leave the butter at room temperature, once softened add the other ingredients to it and work them all together to obtain a homogeneous mixture that will need to be left to rest in the refrigerator for at least half a day.

 

The marzipan is made by combining all the ingredients together; the
mixture should be fairly consistent and not too soft.

 

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. The cookies should be “pizzettati”, using special metal tweezers,
so as to leave small concave spaces on the front part of the cookie for the marzipan. At this point you may add the marzipan and decorate it with hearts, stars and other small decorations using the leftover dough. Once finished, leave the cookies stand for a day and then proceed to baking in
an oven at 180° C.

 

As soon as the cookies are removed from the oven, the Befana is dusted with powdered sugar and left to cool.

 

Placed in a cookie container, it maintains for a long time – enjoy – and Happy Befana!