Sale & Pepe: discover the February issue – Italian Cuisine


No pancakes …

But donuts. Indeed donut, because there are those who the Carnival he celebrates it like this: with a dessert that is an all-round hoax

181625Have you ever seen a Carnival without pancakes? Impossible, like a Christmas without panettone. Yet it can be done, just put your hands in dough instead of batter, dusting off the recipe of an ancient Tuscan dessert: the Berlingozzo, of which the reporters of the fifteenth century speak of saying that it was consumed on Fat Thursday, called day Shrove, name in turn also of one carnival mask.

Sweet is a simple donut with common ingredients (eggs, flour, sugar), but it has that touch of Tuscan (Vin Santo and extra virgin olive oil) that locates it. So much to provoke parochialism: so from Florence to Prato or in other neighboring areas, to get up to Pitigliano, in Umbria, where a summer festival has been dedicated to the donut for 40 years, the recipe changes a little, what makes everyone say that one's own is the best. And those of Lamporecchio, in the province of Pistoia know it well, because they claim theirs as the mother recipe.

The donut has ancient origins, some 16th century poets cite it and written testimonies place it on the table of Cosimo I de 'Medici, who tasted it as an appetizer. Always the reporters of the time tell how the common people hung the donut around their necks during Carnival, just to joke or better to berate.

The origin of berlingozzo is closely linked to the name of Shrove Thursday or berlingaccio which, in turn, may derive from berlenghum, a word from the late Latin that indicated the table as a canteen, from which by analogy "berlingare", that is to chat after having drunk and eaten, "berlinger", that is, a talkative greedy, and "berlingaccio", the mask that represents him: a big red person, or rather, red-faced. From court appetizer to popular dessert, who knows how and why … What is certain is that during Carnival, with the necessary disguises, the people made fun of the powerful, in addition, the Tuscans are pranksters and slightly opposed: therefore no pancakes but donuts.

Berlingozzo is now a partially forgotten dessert, it resists to a lesser extent in some local pastry shops, yet its simplicity makes it greedy: once cooked, still lukewarm, it is in fact sprinkled with one syrup based on Orange juice is sugar and then completed with granulated sugar or sugared almonds, but nothing prevents you from personalizing it with a good melt of melted chocolate.

On the other hand, it is Carnival and "berlingare" is good for the soul, indeed I could coin the term "berlingozzare", saying that it is even more good. Lorenzo de Medici also knew that in the Carnival Songs dedicates a song to the bakers where it says:
"Women, we are young bakers, very good masters of our art: We made berlingozzi, and sugary."

editorial by Laura Maragliano,
on Sale & Pepe of February 2020

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