While looking for Italian Christmas cuisine today, I stumbled across the traditional Italian Christmas cake from Brescia. No, this is not panettone. The Christmas cake we are presenting here comes from Lombardy and is a specialty of the region. It only exists there. The city of Brescia and its province are known for their pastry specialties. In the restaurant guide Gambero Rosso for the delicacies "Pasticceri & Pasticcerie 2021" they won prizes for it.
Traditional Christmas cake in Italy
You need patience to bake this traditional Christmas cake from Italy. Flour, sugar, butter, eggs and yeast are the ingredients needed for this cake. The secret lies in the preparation. The Bossolà requires leisure and a portion of passion. Because before the mold is put into the oven, yeast dough must be made – with more or fewer eggs and with a resting time that varies from dough to dough. Italian Christmas cuisine requires time and leisure. Endurance is required to connect the dough step by step. A quarter hour! long two doughs are to be kneaded into a mass. once did everything right
the effort is rewarded with a result that is difficult to resist. At the end of the day there is a pot cake on the table that tempts you to indulge.
Dust the splendor with powdered sugar and the Italian Christmas cake that is so popular in Brescia at Christmas time is ready.
Homemade or fetched from the confectioner, the bossolà is a souvenir, a gift that is given to hosts. Those with a sweet tooth nibble on the Italian Christmas cake for breakfast. However, it is traditionally eaten as a dessert after a meal. A passito, a liqueur wine made from grapes, is an excellent accompaniment.
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Lucky cakes and tarts are part of Italian Christmas cuisine
The recipe for the Italian Christmas cake Bossolà may have come to Brescia from the Republic of Venice a long time ago. It is also conceivable that this baking tradition goes back to an even more distant past. The origin of the Bossolà can no longer really be traced. But the fact is that this pot cake has a place in the legends that people told themselves in the Valli Bresciane - the mountain valleys of the province of Brescia. The Bossolà - a symbol of luck and hope. It is also certain that the professional bakeries in the city and the province of Brescia dedicate themselves to this specialty from the All Saints holiday at the end of October until well into January.
Iginio Massari is considered the grand master not only of the cake specialty, but of the art of confectionery in general. The Brescian has already won more than 300 national and international competitions of his guild with his sweet creations.
With his Pasticceria Veneto, which he has run since 1971, the now 79-year-old has only just achieved the highest honors again. In its “Pasticceri & Pasticcerie 2021” issue, Gambero Rosso honored Massari’s pastry shop with “Three cakes in gold”.
Recipe for the Italian Christmas cake from Brescia
Ingredients for the Italian Christmas cake according to the recipe by Iginio Massari (serving 14)
Flour 135 g
Sugar 40 g
Yeast (fresh) 40 g
Flour 260 g
Sugar 50 g
Flour 500 g
Sugar 150 g
Salt (7 grams)
Vanilla sugar (5 grams)
Preparation of the traditional Christmas cake from Italy
Heap flour on the work surface and form a well. Crumble the yeast and dissolve it in lukewarm water. Put the yeast solution in the well and add the butter, the egg and the sugar. Then you mix the ingredients and knead the dough until it is elastic. Form a ball and put it in a bowl. Cover this with a tea towel and let the dough for the Italian Christmas cake rest in a warm place for about 1 hour.
Mix flour and sugar and pile them up. Pour butter and eggs into a well and mix well. Then mix dough 1 (after it has risen well in an hour's rest) with dough 2. Knead the mixture for a quarter of an hour and form a ball. Let it rest covered in a warm place for 2-3 hours until the dough has risen well.
Mix flour, sugar, salt and vanilla sugar, pile them up and add eggs and butter. Then process everything into a dough for a few minutes. Then add dough 2 (after it has risen for 2-3 hours) to dough 3 and knead everything for a quarter of an hour. Then put this dough in a greased form and let it rest, covered, in a warm place for another 30 minutes. Then bake it for 40-50 minutes in the oven preheated to 190°.
Finally, let the Italian Christmas cake cool and dust it with powdered sugar. You can then wrap it up and give it away – or eat it yourself. Be sure to enjoy Italian Christmas cuisine at home with this recipe for the traditional Italian Christmas cake from Brescia.
There is not only Italian Christmas cake in the Italian Christmas kitchen
With his awards, the super baker Iginio Massari from Brescia leads the ranking in Italy. The jury found that his successes enabled him to make the art of confectionery from Italy known all over the world like no other. Massari offers the Italian Christmas cake - alongside delicacies such as panettone and Pandoro Tradizionale - in his pastry shop not only in winter. At least he sees no reason why people shouldn't treat themselves to something so good at any time of the year, says the master. Many of his customers apparently see it the same way. That's why he serves Christmas cuisine from Italy all year round.
Patisseries that are worth a visit
Other pastry chefs in the city and the surrounding area also received awards. Not just because of the Italian Christmas cake. Ten pastry shops in the province of Brescia can currently boast “two cakes”. These include Bedussi, Garzoni, Piccinelli as well as San Carlo in Brescia, Sirani in Bagnolo Mella, FN Nazzari in Iseo on Lake Iseo, Chantilly in Lumezzane, Creazioni and Di Novo in Manerba and Andreoletti in Offlaga. L'Elite in Cologne also made the list of the best with “a cake”. If you are planning a trip to the city or region on Lake Garda soon, it is definitely worth visiting at least one of these pastry shops.
The Lake Garda province of Brescia is also proud of the crown for Federica D'Alpaos. D'Alpaos, head patisserie at the Hotel Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera, has achieved a top spot in the ranking of pastry chefs.
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Source of Italian Christmas cakes from Brescia: Visit Brescia. Our opinions definitely remain our own.
Text of Italian Christmas cake from Brescia: (c) Copyright Monika Fuchs and TWO
Photos of traditional Italian Christmas cakes: (c) Copyright Visit Brescia and Roberto Maggioni