I have named this entry inspiration because this simple and seemingly delicious dessert has inspired me to try my hand at baking (not a small feet if you knew how badly I have failed in the past). The dish is called Cicerchiata.
It is a simple Italian dessert heralding from the Marche region, which, lies along Italy’s central Adriatic Coast. Now I know that this region has many culinary traditions revolving around meat and seafood, however, I decided to discuss this dessert because of its simplicity. It represents Italian cuisine in a way that contradicts popular opinion, it is not heavy, it doesn’t contain tomatoes or basil and there is certainly no meat (obviously its a dessert). But these things are all heavily associated with Italian cooking and I wanted to highlight the lighter and simpler side of the coin.
The recipe is mostly for the sweet dough balls. Once made and risen you simply cook and then arrange them as you please (traditionally done in a circle) and smother in honey. Some recipes add crushed almonds and decorate with hundreds and thousands. The small shape of the balls is where the dish gets its name, deriving from the Italian word cicerchia. This is a small bean similar in size to a chickpea but with a sweater taste.
As mentioned the Marche region is famous for meaty meals, as a result this ancient dessert was made as something lighter to juxtapose the hearty coronary inducing secondi. It is also one of the only desserts that utilises ingredients solely from the Marche region with most other desserts coming about when ingredients were transported between regions.
The dish is not well known or made in Australia unless your family has Italian ties then you may see this at your christmas table.
ps. I tried making it … Lets just say I didn’t put a photo up for a reason (I told you I was bad)