[RECETTE] Quaresimal, Italian Lenten Cookies

Do you know the traditional recipe for “quaresimali”, these delicious Italian cakes for Lent? Cook with your family and enjoy your Sundays!

In the past, to celebrate Lent, Italian villages held fairs every week, including the famous Quaresimal, traditional fasting cookies. Today they can be ordered in cafes and bakeries during Lent and during Easter. Depending on the region, their recipe changes. For example, in Tuscany they are made with egg whites, sugar and baked cocoa powder. Their peculiarity lies in their original form, as they reproduce the letters of the alphabet. On the other hand, Quaresimal Instead of genoa, marzipan, sugar, orange blossom water, egg white, flour, fennel seeds are prepared. They are then filled with melted sugar flavored with pistachio, lemon or coffee, as they can still be found today in several historic pastry shops in the Ligurian capital.

The origin of their preparation dates back to about 1500 years, when the Augustinian nuns of the monastery of St. Thomas processed marzipan with sugar, without adding animal products forbidden during Lent. In the 19th century, a famous pastry shop in Genoa received the original recipe, which at the time was in danger of being lost after the destruction of the monastery. It should be prepared and eaten on Sunday.

Quaresimali: a recipe from Genoa

30 for Quaresimal

Ingredients: 3 cups of almonds; 1 cup of white sugar; 2 cups of universal flour; 1 cup of brown sugar; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 1 teaspoon of baking powder; 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter; 3 eggs; 2 spoonfuls of egg white to set aside.


1. Roast almonds in a cake mold in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. let it cool.

2. Finely grind the almonds with ¼ cup white sugar in a blender, then transfer everything to a large bowl.

3. Mix flour, remaining ¾ cup white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking powder. Stir until the mixture is smooth.

4. Add the butter and stir into the mixture. Add the rest of the almonds, roughly chopped, then the eggs, then knead the dough until well combined.

5. Shape the dough into long rectangles on a greased and floured form.

6. Brush each rectangle with egg white before baking for 25 minutes.

7. Cut into pieces and put in the turned off oven for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Fasting dessert
Fasting cookies
Lenten soup

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