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Fave dei Morti (Beans of the Dead)
Fave Alla Romagna/ Fave dei Morti/Beans of the Dead (using almonds, butter, sugar, brandy, lemon and cinnamon)
Originated from: Emilia Romagna & other regions
Occasion: All Souls' Day/The Day of the Dead (Nov. 2nd)
Contributed by: Taken from "Recipes of All Nations" by Countess Morphy (WM. H. Wise & Co.,1936)

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2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 pound of sweet almonds, blanched
2 1/3 tablespoons of butter
Flavoring of lemon, cinnamon, or orange flower, brandy
1 egg
Brandy, sufficient to make into a stiff dough

Egg wash
1 egg yolk


Pound the blanched and skinned almonds in a mortar with the sugar till they are like very small grains of rice.

Then add to the flour and the egg, and mix all thoroughly, adding sufficient brandy to make into a stiff dough.

Roll out and shape into "fave" or large broad beans, put these on a buttered tin, sprinkled with a little flour, and brush them over with the beaten yolk of one egg.

Bake in a moderate oven.

Being small, they are quickly done. They should be of an even golden color.


The recipe in this entry was taken from "Recipes of All Nations" which was compiled and edited by Countess Morphy. It was published in New York by WM. H. Wise & Company in 1936. For the complete copyright-free book visit www.archive.org. Photo: Mary Melfi..... The author notes in her book that "The 'fave dei morti' or 'beans of the dead,' which consist of pastry, shaped to resemble a large broad bean, are found in various parts of Italy, and are specially made on All Souls' Day. The making and consumption of these pastry beans in connection with the dead must have started at some remote period, and is a survival of an ancient superstition with regard to the bean. The goddess Demeter, for instance, who was not only the "corn" mother of the Greeks, but whose influence extended to vegetation generally and to all the fruits of the earth, excluded the bean, the use of which was forbidden at Eleusis. The bean was looked upon as a funeral offering and it was thought that the souls of the dead were enclosed in it; Pythagoras forbade his disciples to partake of the bean because it was offered to the dead. So the old superstition still survives, but the modern Italian "fave" are very delicious, and worthy to be eaten every day of the year. There are many different recipes, and I have chosen one which is very popular."

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