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Apulian Cooking
“Fruttone”, the other face of the pasticciotto The same shape as the pasticciotto but with ingredients typical of Salento: filled with almond paste and quince paste, in a delicious contrast with its chocolate icing.
Ideal when accompanied by a glass of Moscato di Trani
by Dario Ersetti
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Fruttoni. For lovers of quince paste and almond paste these cakes are irresistible. Photo by Dario Ersetti

The pasticciotto is one of Lecce’s typical traditional recipes, and perhaps its most famous. In actual fact what should be more famous is its brother the fruttone, since it contains the typical ingredients of the area, almond paste and quince paste. We think the chocolate covering was not introduced to make the cake richer but to balance out the sweetness of the almond paste and the quince paste. Like the pasticciotto, the fruttone, too, has larger cake-sized versions
 

The recipe

    For 10 fruttoni:
 

   For the SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY (sucrée)

- 500 g of 00 flour

- 250 g of lard

- 250 g of sugar

- 4 egg yolks

- 2 teaspoons of rising agent for cakes

- grated zest of a lemon

- a pinch of salt
 

   For the FILLING

- quince paste

- 300 g of peeled almonds

- 200 g of sugar

- 4 eggs

- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 

   For the ICING

- 250 g of dark chocolate

- 50 g of butter
 

Sieve the flour, form it into a fountain on the board, mix in the salt, the rising agent, lemon zest and sugar. Place the lard in the center of the fountain and roll it in your fingertips so it absorbs a little flour. Add the yolks to the flour. Make the pastry into a ball and knead very briskly because the mixture must be smooth but must not get hot. Cover in cling-wrap and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Actually, this pastry is not sablée but sucrée and it also contains rising agent. Sucrée is more compact and less crumbly than sablée and therefore better suited to lining moulds and for making small pastries.  

Prepare the filling by lightly toasting the almonds in a hot oven and grinding them with the sugar and then mixing them with the cinnamon and egg yolks. Stiffly whip the egg whites and lightly fold them into the mixture.

Use a fork to soften the quince paste. 

Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3-4 mm, line the moulds, fill them with a good spoonful of quince paste and with almond mixture, cover with another layer of pastry. Bake in a 200° oven for at least half an hour.

Remove from the oven and let cool, remove from tins and cover with icing made by melting chocolate and butter in a bain-marie. Unlike the pasticciotto, which should be eaten hot or very hot, the fruttone is served at room temperature, best with a glass of “passito” moscato di Trani.
 

MOSCATO di TRANI

The dominican Leandro Alberti in his work “Description of all of Italy”, published in 1577, reports that in Bisceglie sultanas were covered with a sugar mixture, like a comfit.

Here they candy Gibebbo so excellently,with Sugar, and other aromatic things that it is thus very delicate to taste: it is much more pleasing than the one from the East”.

It is almost certain that the grapes were the same as those used to make the wine Moscato di Trani, which was already known around the year 1000, when it was imported by merchants from the Republic of Venice.

Moscato di Trani, DOC (controlled origin) since 1974, has an alcohol content from 12.5° to 15°, a brilliant, deep yellow color, a bouquet typical of muscat grapes and a sweet, complex, mellow taste due to the development of its components during aging. It is a perfect accompaniment for almond paste sweets, including the fruttone.

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