Sicilian Easter sweets: biscotti quaresimali, from Palermo to Catania

Sicilian Easter sweets: biscotti quaresimali

The Sicilian culinary tradition is ancient. And, in practice, Sicily has many recipes for each one of the biggest events of the year. Easter is certainly no exception: during this time, some tasty pastries are prepared. Such as the biscotti quaresimali (“Lenten cookies”), especially in Palermo and in Catania.

For some visitors who have tasted them, they are similar to the cantuccini (Italian almond biscuits) but be careful: the Sicilians are very jealous and proud of their culinary specialties. The recipe of biscotti quaresimali is very ancient and, as the name suggests, were prepared to “sweeten” the period of Lent.

There are several variants of the biscotti quaresimali. The most famous are the recipes of Palermo and Catania (the two cities, in addition to arancino/arancina, disagree even on this):

  • candied fruit, toasted almonds, sugar, eggs, acacia gum and pistachio are the ingredients of the biscotti quaresimali prepared in Catania
  • take these ingredients and add grated orange (or lemon) zest and cinnamon: these are the biscotti quaresimali prepared in Palermo

Whatever is the variant that you prefer, it doesn’t matter: both are tasty and both will allow you to discover one of the most characteristic flavors of the island. However, if you want to taste the real biscotti quaresimali prepared as tradition requires, you just have to taste them in Sicily.


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