Ceremito and sportella are two traditional cakes from Elba

On the morning of Palm Sunday, the young men from Rio had a small basket full of flowers and a ceremito (or cerimito), the "male" Easter cake, taken to the girl they loved.

If the girl accepted the present, which meant she also accepted the man's love, at Easter she then gave him a sportella that had been blessed and had a ribbon round it.

Sportella

Ingredients (makes six)

1 kg flour, 500 g sugar, 100 g butter, 6 eggs, 2 sachets baking powder, half glass milk, grated rind 1 lemon, handful aniseed seeds, some coloured nib sugar.

Method

Beat eggs, sugar and grated lemon rind with a whisk. Fold in flour then add melted butter and mix; add baking powder. Roll dough quickly into a ball, adding flour if necessary. Leave to rest for at least 1 hour, then cut it into 6 pieces of the same size. Roll each piece into a long, cylindrical shape and shape them into a horse shoe, then join the two ends together and cross them over. Flatten a little. Brush with beaten egg yolk mixed with a little water, then sprinkle with some nib sugar. Bake at 180°.

Ceremito (or Cerimito)

Ingredients (makes six)

1 kg flour, 200 g chopped nuts, 5 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons sugar or honey, 2 tablespoons aniseed seeds, grated rind of two oranges, 3 eggs, 25 g fresh yeast melted in a little warm water, pinch of pepper, salt.

Method

Put flour on baking board, add ingredients one at a time then knead together as if making bread. Leave to rise for about two hours, then cut dough into six pieces of the same size and roll out to form cylinders of about 2,5 cm in diameter and about 40 cm in length. Put both ends side by side then twist over three or four times, leaving a hole at the other end. Bake at 180°.

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