Pizzelle, a traditional recipe for an Abruzzese dessert

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The pizzella, widespread throughout the Abruzzo region, takes on different names depending on the area of production, so it is also known as ferratella, nevola, neola, catarretta or cancellata.

How do you call this dessert or have you ever made or eaten it?

Write it in the comments section below if you want let us know your knowledge with this dessert.

Mamma Anna Maria with her pizzelle and caffè

It is a wafer, soft or crispy depending on the recipe, baked with a special iron with square or diamond forging, rectangular or fan-shaped, combining simple ingredients such as eggs, flour, extra virgin olive oil and sugar.

The origin of this Abruzzo dessert is traced back to Roman times, when Crustulum, a cookie very similar to today’s pizzella and with the same ingredients, was prepared.

In the 1700s, the irons for the preparation of pizzelle were customized by blacksmiths and artisans, who, in addition to the “gate” decoration, inserted the initials of the client.

In this way pizzelle had a kind of trademark imprinted on them. 

In those days, pizzelle iron was considered an object of value on a par with the wedding trousseau, so much so that it was included among the objects brought as dowry by the bride, and it is precisely from this enormous value that it had, that the name “ferratelle” (ferro in italian = iron in English), given to this dessert, also derives.

In modern days, the traditional iron, often passed down over the years from mothers to daughters, to be placed on the fire or gas stove is still used to bake them, taking care to turn the iron halfway through baking, although today electric irons can also be found on the market; and according to tradition, the pizzella must remain baked long enough to recite an “Ave Maria” on one side and an “Our Father” on the other.

Today, the preparation of pizzelle has extended to any time of year and on any holiday, but initially they were prepared and baked in conjunction with weddings, which took place between May and October, which featured pizzelle as one of the star desserts of the wedding banquet.

Pizzelle may or may not be served filled with custard or homemade jam.

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2 thoughts on “Pizzelle, a traditional recipe for an Abruzzese dessert”

  1. Karla Caprari

    I grew up eating pizzelle. My mother had an iron that was used over the stove. I used it for many years after she passed away. I am now using an electric one. I love eating them with Nutella.

    1. Buongiorno Karla,
      thank you for your kind words and I’m glad you know and love this dessert, at least as much as I do.

      We in Abruzzo use to fill them with custard or jam, both homemade, for a more authentic flavor.

      If you haven’t tried them yet, come and enjoy them on one of our tours!

      Thank you

      Grazie and ciao for now


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