SFRATTO DEI GOYM
Lo Sfratto is the best known biscuit in Pitigliano and one of its oldest traditions. It has been honoured by the Slow Food Presidium.
It is a very simple biscuit, linked to the Jewish tradition, and is today one of the most important reminders of Pitigliano’s Jewish history. After all, Pitigliano has been nicknamed La Piccola Gerusalemme or Little Jerusalem.
The biscuit is prepared with a few ingredients. It’s a thin pastry made with flour, eggs, sugar, butter and spices with a filling of honey, walnuts, nutmeg and citrus peel. It is mainly made at Christmas but today, in Pitigliano, you can find in any season of the year.
Each nonna in Pitigliano has her own personal recipe for the sfratto, a trick to make them more or less crisp, to accentuate one flavour compared to another, but all of them are deeply linked to the local tradition.
THE HISTORY OF THE SFRATTO DEI GOYM
Between 1555 and 1569, Pope Paul IV issued papal bulls that limited the freedom of the Jewish population that lived in the Papal State and forced the Jews to leave their homes and move to the nearby territories. That is how Pitigliano, one of the towns nearest to the border with Lazio, became, at the end of the 16th century, the new home for a large Jewish community fleeing from the Vatican State. The coexistence between the locals and the new community was peaceful and harmonious and a Jewish quarter was born. In 1598, the Synagogue was built. The Synagogue of Pitigliano is still the only one in the whole province of Grosseto. The new Jewish community did not only settle in the Jewish quarter, but also chose to live in the nearby towns of Sovana and Sorano, managing to integrate perfectly with the local population. Soon, however, the first limitations to the Jewish population arrived in Tuscany too. In the early 1600s, Cosimo II of the Medici issued an edict that forced all the Jews of his county to live exclusively within the Jewish Ghetto of Pitigliano. The duke’s men went house by house knocking on the door of every Jewish citizen demanding they move to the ghetto. The men had a stick – lo sfratto – which was recreated in biscuit form as a way to commemorate this horrible event.
SFRATTO DEI GOYM RECIPE
The recipe for the Sfratto has been handed down for centuries from generation to generation. It is a biscuit that, traditionally, is prepared during Christmas, but in Pitigliano, you can find it in any season of the year. The ingredients are simple, but the preparation requires some time and effort … The outer shell is prepared with a mixture of flour, eggs, sugar, butter and spices, while the inside is a sweet honey dough with walnuts, citrus peel, cinnamon and nutmeg. The shape is 20-25 cm long stick.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH:
400g of flour
200g of sugar
150ml of dry white wine
40ml of extra virgin olive oil
INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING:
500g of honey
500g of shelled walnuts
lemon and orange zest
nutmeg, to taste
cinnamon, to taste
You start by preparing the filling. Put the honey in a pot and let it heat for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, dice the walnuts and combine with the citrus peel and spices, then add to the hot honey. Continue stirring for about 6-8 minutes on the stove. Then divide the honey mixture into six parts and, being careful not to burn yourself, form 6 sticks of about 25cm long and about 4-5cm in diameter.
To make the dough, mix all the other ingredients with the flour, knead with your hands and leave to rest for about 20 minutes. Then roll the dough out thin and cut into six long strips. Roll each strip around the honey sticks and completely close to seal. Brush the surface with milk or egg white and bake in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.