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The sweet casatiello from Monte di Procida


The Casatiello from Monte di Procida (photo by Antonella Spinelli)

A Facebook reader asked me for the recipe of the sweet casatiello from Monte di Procida which is her native place. Here it is from the heart of the Phlegrean Fields.
by Romualdo Scotto di Carlo

This sweet casatiello is completely different from the savoury one widespread in Napoles. It isn't very soft and can be found everywhere in Monte di Procida. Every family has a particular recipe.

The main ingredient is the mother yeast which was used to treat bruises and sprains in the past. It is a rite which takes two days and one night. These savoury cakes are covered with blankets and put in warm places. They will be given to relatives and friends. In the past they were baked in the wood burning oven. One was for the family, one for each child, one for young girlfriend who gave it to their mothers-in-law. They were eaten as a dessert and garnished with hard-boiled eggs but were also enjoyed with broad beans and bacon or fresh fennels and a glass of a young Piedirosso wine. They have always been eaten on Easter Monday. They keep for a long time thanks to mother yeast and many people eat a slice of casatiello with milk for breakfast even after many weeks

For the :
500 g flour
4 eggs
250 g sugar
125 g lard
100 g mother yeast
1 orange, squeezed
a small glass of Strega liqueur
cinnamon, cloves

For the garnishing:
4 eggs
egg white, beaten till stiff
icing sugar
some drops of lemon juice
tiny, variously coloured candied almonds (in Naples they are named “diavulilli”)

It is better to start the evening before. Mix the mother yeast, an egg, a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of sugar. Let rest and leaven for one night. The day after repeat the same process with the same ingredients.

After 12 hours add the remaining flour, sugar and lard, the other two eggs and the flavour and keep mixing. Grease a ring-shaped mould with the lard, fill it with the mixture and add the remaining 4 eggs covering them with thin stripes in the shape of a cross. Let it rest in a warm place until the mixture reaches the eggs.

Bake at 180C in a pre-heated oven for about one hour. Finally garnish with the egg white beaten till stiff with the icing sugar and the lemon juice and sprinkle with tiny, variously coloured candied almonds named "diavulilli".

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