No family in the area is missing their own recipe for Torciglione, a traditional Christmas cake that varies slightly from village to village, with the recipe passed from mother to daughter. Torciglione keeps for several days on account of its ingredients: sweet and bitter almonds, eggs and sugar. It takes its name from its traditional, snake-like shape with two almonds for ears, two coffee grains for eyes and a confetto for a mouth. Experts believe this cake has associations with Etruscan mysticism.
The Torta al Testo
The Torta al Testo, known also as 'ciaccia' or 'crescia', is one of the oldest known kinds of bread in Umbria. Although strictly speaking it is not bread, since no yeast is used, it is used like bread at table on a variety of different occasions. Its recipe is similar to the bread baked in early human civilisation.
orta al Testo is similar to the Jewish azyme bread mentione in the Bible 2000 years before Christ. This ancient bread uses only basic ingredients such as flour, water and salt.
In times when white flour was lacking, a fair amount of cornflower was used in the mixture, making the dough particularly difficult to work and bake. Ash or embers were often placed over the bread during cooking.
Torta al Testo goes with a variety of dishes including salame and cheese or cooked vegetables and sausages. It is excellent with nuts. If baked a little higher, Torta al Testo is ideal for eating up the last remnants of sauces from all kinds of stew.
More modern versions of Toirta al Testo often add fillings such as rucola, cream cheese or even nutella.
Torta al Testo for 6
half a kg of flour
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp of powdered yeast for savoury baking
water as necessary
Arrange the flour with a hole in the middle, add all the ingredients and knead until you obtain a soft dough that you can spread. Cover with a cloth an leave. In the mantime heat the testo until it has reached the desired temperature (test by sprinkling bits of flour or the dough). Spread the dough on a wooden surface and pierce it with a fork all over. Place it on the testo and cook on both sides. Serve hot or with the desired garnishings accompanied by a new wine.
Each year the autumn sees many locals and people from the surrounding areas in the woods, hunting for mushrooms. No one will ever tell you the particular spot where he finds they grow in large numbers. But the abundance of excellent recipes to cook them indicates that someone, somewhere, has found them at some stage or another.
To taste the best specialities from Perugia, we advise the Fontanella Porta del Sole, Via delle Prome 2 Perugia, tel (+39) 075.57.34.265. Closed Sundays.
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