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bocca di dama

ancient Tuscan cake, or Puglian breast-shaped pastries

bocca di dama

'Lady's mouth' cake was especially made for Passover in Livorno; in Tunisia, where there was a large Jewish community from Livorno, it was called bouscoutou. It was also made in Mantua during the Renaissance, where it was the favourite dessert of the elegant Isabella d'Este.

There are several versions but most a lot of eggs which are abundant in the spring, so the recipe was also adopted by Christians, especially nuns who made it around Easter. Perhaps the best known version is a crumbly torta made with bitter-orange marmalade (or apricots), meringue, almonds (or hazelnuts) and amaretti. Other recipes use flour.

Puglia's bocche di dama salentine resemble a rather different part of the female anatomy, similar to Sicily's minni di virgine. Like the Tuscan version, they use a lot of eggs. They are made of meringue and lemon-scented pastry cream, then glazed with a maraschino cherry on top.

Desserts and pastries




Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Pasticcotoobama, seichicchidimelograno