In 4 days we all get together “per fare I dolci“. To make sweets. No need to explain further. All the women (and also the men) of the family, know what it means to “make sweets” for us. It is an ancient tradition, handed down from one generation of women to another thanks to a recipe written by hand on a piece of yellowed paper by Nonna Concetta.
We are talking about Christmas sweets from Puglia made with traditional and ancient ingredients, typical of rural culture and whose procurement today in the northern city requires the enlistment of a pusher of cooked must, drug dealers of cotognata, narcos of stone grinded semolina! Moms, aunts, cousins and now our daughters, we all meet from early morning in front of the legendary “machine” (does it have a name after all? No, I’m not talking about the planetary. I am talking about that thing that spreads the dough!).
Everything begins with the preparation of sweet dough for panzerotti and cartellate. And it continues with the filling of panzerotti made of cotognata, dark chocolate, orange, pine nuts. We all work together. All criticize and give advice with a level of noise and general laughter so high that my son’s fifth-grader friends during the lunch break seem kittens in comparison!
Dads instead give themselves to the bush. Too loud. Too many female hormones. And those who decide to participate anyway end up running after the children to prevent them from making wall murals of cooked must and honey all over the walls of the house.
The grandmothers do not give up the scepter of power, they get tired, they quarrel: the dough is too soft, the dough must be thinner, yes but then it tears, cartellate are too big, deep frying yes / deep frying no. The children can not wait to get their hands in the dough and create piles of panzerotti / cartellate of simil didò. The mothers (us) with a continuous chatter, create trays and trays of sweet and stuffed dough just waiting to be immersed in boiling oil.
Ah what a sublime aroma is released as soon as frying begins. Some panzerotti inevitably bursts creating in the oil nuggets of golden caramel that is punctually fished out otherwise “becomes black”.
Sinking your teeth in the warm little belly of the first panzerotto, full of hot marmalade flavored with orange zest and pine nuts is priceless! This is Christmas for us. Family and making dolci.