Maybe you’re wondering what a Scarcella Pugliese is. In this article, we’re talking about a typical cake we make in Puglia for Easter week.
The Scarcella Pugliese is a kind of large shortbread cookie made with a few simple ingredients. You need only flour, sugar, oil, milk, and eggs to make the dough, then adding species and decorations, it will have a better taste! But, before giving you the recipe, we would like to talk about its meaning.
The most famous Easter cake of Puglia
Anciently, the housewives had the chance to bake a large amount of Scarcelle due to the simple ingredients they had to use. In this way, they were able to wish good luck and abundance to all their relatives and friends.
The classic Scarcella Pugliese has many shapes, all related to Easter: braided buns, bells, doves, bunnies, or nests.
Commonly all the Scarcelle have one or two boiled eggs nestled into the dough, as symbols of fertility, and they are glazed and covered with rainbow sprinkles.
How many names for this cake?
The fun fact behind this delicious cake is that we make it in the whole of Puglia, but it has different versions, and most importantly, different names!
Yes, because after deep research, we have found out that almost everywhere the recipe is very similar, except in Molfetta, but the names are various and colorful!
In the Land of Bari, we call them “Scarcedd”, but if you look at them in Salento you should ask for “Cuddrhure” or “Puddrhiche”, while in Northern Puglia you find them called “Squarcelle” or “Scariell”.
Isn’t this so amazing?
Sweet vs salty version
After showing the many names the Scarcella can own here in Puglia, we can talk about the different tastes.
We’re going to give you the recipe for the classic one, made in the Land of Bari, but there’s a super delicious version typical of Molfetta, just a bit northernmost of Bari and a salty version made in Salento.
The first one is made with the classic dough: made with flour, sugar, oil, milk, eggs, vanilla flavor, lemon zest, and baking powder. Then it is also filled with cherry or grape jam, covered with marzipan and frosting. We ate the Scarcella Molfettese just once, and it was fantastic!
The salty variation from Salento is pretty new for us!
We discovered the existence of the Puddrhicasci or Puddrhiche talking with some friends of ours from Salento.
It is a kind of braided bread bun flavored with orange or lemon zest, pepper, and fennel seeds, always with the boiled eggs nestled into the dough… wonderful! Can’t wait to taste them!
Scarcella Pugliese recipe
But back to us!
This is the recipe of the classic Scarcella Pugliese made in the land of Bari. Watch the video below to see all the steps to make a real Scarcella Pugliese.
For 2 Scarcelle 25/30 cm each:
- 500 gr flour
- 150 gr white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100 gr seeds oil
- 50 gr milk
- 8 gr baking powder
- vanilla powder
- organic lemon zest
- 2 boiled eggs
- 500 gr icing sugar
- 125 ml water
- rainbow sprinkles
In a large bowl, pour flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and start kneading. Add oil and milk slowly and mix all for some minutes until to get a soft dough, like shortbread.
Let stand the dough covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the eggs you will use to nestle into the cookie.
Now, roll out the dough until it is 1 cm high, then cut the Easter shapes and 4 stripes that you’ll use to make the crosses that block the boiled eggs.
Tip: you can print the Easter shapes on cardboard that you can cut and then use to follow as a matrix.
Preheat the oven at 180°, and after shaping the Scarcelle bake them for 25/30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Pour the icing sugar and the water in a small pot and let melting until the glaze is white. Then let it cool down. After the Scarcelle are baked and cold, brush the glaze on them, then spread the rainbow sprinkles.
When the Scarcelle are dry: they’re ready!
I hope you will try to bake the Scarcella Pugliese and you’ll eat a very traditional Easter cake from Puglia!