Do not miss the traditional Sicilian desserts for the 2nd of November made with ancient grain Maiorca flour!
If you visit Sicily between the second half of October and the second of November, you cannot miss the mysterious atmosphere of this period and the goodness of the traditional sweet for the celebration of the feast of the dead, a celebration with ancient origins.
The feast of the dead, canonically celebrated by the Catholic Church on November the 2nd, has ancient origins, it is even thought that it dates back to the X century AD. The birth of the rite is attributed to the Benedictine abbot Saint Odilone di Cluny who, with the Cluniac reform, established that the bells of the abbey had to play with funeral toll after the vespers of the first of November to celebrate the souls of the dead. It is a widespread belief in Sicily that at midnight of November the 2nd, the souls of the dead start wandering in the streets of the cities, bringing gifts to their loved little ones.
The Sicilian tradition
There are in the island, which is a heterogeneous collection of customs and cultures, various traditions, with minimal variations. In some places was even widespread the belief that for the ethereal night, the dead people went down to the earth, needed to feed themselves in the same way of the living people. Thus, in these places, it was a habit to leave for the deceased loved ones a piece of bread and a glass of water next to a pair of shoes, which were used by the dead to go around the house and greet their families. The shoes were filled with greedy gifts when the beloved deceased left the house on earth and headed back to his eternal home. Among the sweets left as gifts by the deceased there were: candied fruit, martorana fruit, almond paste, taralli and a sweet called “Ossa di Morto” (dead bones). Typical sweets that still today are made for the period of the feast of the dead.
The dead bones
The Bones of the Dead are one of the typical sweets of the feast of the dead which assume different names depending on the Sicilian locations. Actually, you can also find them under the name of Scardellini, Mustazzoli, Paste di Garofano. They are desserts made from a few ingredients, water, flour for cakes, that once was Maiorca flour, sugar, cloves and cinnamon and they have a shape that is reminiscent of the bones, even if in a very stylized way. Despite the simplicity of the ingredients, their realization has long preparation times. In order to obtain their typical consistency, it is necessary to let the dough rest in a dry place, for about three days, the time necessary to harden the surface.
460 g of ancient wheat flour Maiorca
800 g of caster sugar
200 ml of water
1 teaspoon of finely chopped cloves
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1. Melt the sugar in a saucepan with water and cloves. Allow to cool and filter
2. Mix Maiorca flour and cinnamon in a large bowl
3. Add the sugar syrup and knead until you obtain a smooth and homogeneous dough
4. On a lightly floured flat surface, form a loaf of about 2.5 cm and cut sticks about 3 cm
5. Moderately flatten the volume of each stick
6. Place the biscuits in a baking pan lined with parchment paper, distancing them from each other
7. Let the surface of the biscuits harden in a warm and dry place for 2/3 days
8. Bake the biscuits in the oven at 180 ° C for about 15 minutes or until the base is light brown and the top
is very white
9. Let the cookies cool on the pan
10. Enjoy the feast with your loved ones, those who are still in the earthly life and those who are in the