Favara Easter lamb – Italian cuisine – Italian Cuisine

The recipe of chef Bonetta Dell'Oglio to redo the typical Sicilian Easter cake at home

Bonetta Dell’Oglio is a champion of the fight to protect Sicilian biodiversity. But first of all she is a brave woman. Last ongoing battle? That in defense of fishing and health of the Mare Nostrum.

Recipes from quarantine

In these quarantine days the chef has decided to virtually open the doors of the beautiful house in Palermo to share, with the many people who follow her every day on social media, a recipe of Mediterranean cuisine. Ancient flavors and aromas that, today more than ever, comfort and relieve our days within the home. The starting point is always the choice of raw materials: only a few and very selected ingredients that reward the commitment and sacrifices of small producers and virtuous fishermen.

In view of Easter, super Bonetta reveals his very personal recipe of theEaster lamb of Favara, delicious pistachio-based dessert covered with almond paste. Its origins are lost back in time. According to sources, it was born from the noble and skilled hands of the nuns of the Collegio di Maria in the Batia district in Favara, a small village in the Agrigento area. In common with the most famous Easter sheep, this small masterpiece of pastry art shares motherhood: both delicacies are in fact a legacy from the convent pastry, as well as most of the Sicilian sweets, intended for aristocracy and high tables clergy on the occasion of Easter.

While the classic Sicilian sheep are made using only almond paste, Favara's Easter lamb is characterized by the presence of a soft pistachio filling, the precious fruit that grows on the pistachios of the limestone Agro of Agrigento and Caltanissetta (in Bronte , the other main pistachio production center in Sicily, soils are volcanic).

In preparing his home version, Bonetta Dell’Oglio chooses only natural ingredients and carefully balances the sugary presence: no refined sugar, instead a small dose of Sicilian black bee honey (the chef recommends the honey from on, the most suitable for desserts). The extra touch is given by lemon zest which confer that unmistakable citrus note of Sicily. And finally homemade almond flour: any variety will be fine, for Bonetta the choice could only fall on the famous and Sicilian pizzuta variety of Avola.

The Sicilian chef Bonetta Dell'Oglio.
Sicilian chef Bonetta Dell’Oglio.

Here is the recipe of the Lamb from Favara according to chef Bonetta Dell’Oglio

Ingredients for a medium sized lamb

For the external body

250 g Avola almonds, 50 g of honey, 1 Sicilian lemon, 50 g of Raffadali pistachios, 50 g of water.

For the stuffing

30 g of Raffadali pistachio, 1 tablespoon of courgette jam (to be understood that of the famous Sicilian tenerumi) or candied citron.

For decorations

2 cloves, whole Raffadali pistachios, various flowers (every spring Bonetta loves to dry roses).


Finely chop the almonds with a mixer until the flour is obtained. Repeat the same operation for the pistachios, taking care to leave some for the lamb chaplet. Take the almond flour and place it in a saucepan over a very low heat, mix water, honey and grate the lemon zest. Cook, taking care not to stick the almonds to the bottom, for about 5 minutes. Arrange the pasta on the kitchen surface and work for a few minutes, as if it were a bread dough. At this point, take two tablespoons of the almond mixture, put in a saucepan and add about 25 g of water. Put on the heat and create, in a homogeneous way, a cream for the pastry bag with a curly tip (it will be used to create the lamb fleece). Close with cling film and leave to rest. Take the courgette jam (or alternatively the candied cedar), cool and add honey and chopped pistachios. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and cook over low heat until it evaporates. Fill the Sicilian plaster mold: turning it upside down, empty the central part of the body with a spoon to fill it with the pistachio mix. At this point, open the shape and decorate: room for imagination in making lamb's wool. The remaining pistachios, after being cut in half, will be placed on the head to shape the crown. Use two cloves for the eyes. Arrange on a serving plate and serve during Easter lunch.

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