The culinary tradition of Emilia-Romagna is among the most famous of Italy. Especially the main courses are the warmest and most replicated dishes. But there are also some typical Christmas sweets from the area of Reggio Emilia that you should try.
A sweet tradition that has its origins in the Renaissance period are the fried or baked tortellini, representing a delicious combination of sweet and salty. Filled with custard or jam this dessert is always on the tables at Christmas.
To prepare the custard you need 6 tablespoons of flour, 6 of sugar, 6 egg yolks, half a liter of milk and lemon rind. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar, add the flour and slowly ad milk, while stirring constantly. Let thicken the mixture on the stove with a moderate heat. Add the lemon zest and let cool.
To prepare the pasta take 500g of flour, 150g of sugar, 50g of butter, 1 packet of yeast, 2 eggs and 1 shot of liquor Sassolino. Mix all ingredients and let it stand for about two hours in the refrigerator. Then use the special molds to shape the tortelli that you will stuff with cream. You can cook them in the oven or fried in hot oil. They should be served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Another typical dessert of Reggio Emilia is the Biscione. Already known in Roman times, the time of Tiberius, it now awaits the IGP. Decorated with meringue, it is composed of simple ingredients such as almonds, eggs, sugar and candied fruits and it is baked.
To prepare the base you will need about one kilogram of minced almonds with a further three whites unmounted and a glass of liquor. The dough should be placed on a baking sheet with the traditional form of a serpent, with a thinner portion that is the tail and a larger head. It should be cooked for half an hour at 180°. At the end it is covered with apricot jam diluted in water.
Now the Biscione must be garnished with the meringue. You are required to prepare 100g of egg whites, 100g caster of sugar and 100g of sugar. Combine the two different sugars and use 100g of the compound with the egg whites until stiff. Then add the remaining sugar. Place the mixture into a pastry bag and decorate as you wish. The cake is then put in the oven at 100 ° for ten minutes to finish cooking.
An other sweet dating back again to the Roman cuisine is Spongata. It is a dessert whose appearance resembles that of a sponge, hence the name. It is prepared by mixing the chopped nuts and honey. They are added to the mixture then the almonds and raisins. Finally add the pine nuts which must not be broken. The typical aroma is given by the Spongata thirteen spices that complement the recipe.
These are just some of the many recipes of Reggio Emilia related to Christmas. On the tables on December 25 there will be, in addition to these delicious desserts, some of the main typical courses of Emilia. In particular the cappelletti for which there are several variations of form and of filling and which closely follow habits and customs of the territory. They are usually eaten in soup, but they are also delicious served with meat sauce or with cream.
Another classic that is a must at Christmas is the stuffed roast in Reggio Emilia style. A simple and inexpensive but very tasty recipe. Lay a slice of meat on a floor, cover with sliced bacon, an omelette and fried spinach with butter, Parmesan cheese and salt. Roll everything and close it with needle and thread. Once roasted, cook for about an hour in a saucepan adding a little ‘stock if the meat is too dry. After cooking, serve in slices thick enough.
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