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Ceppelliate Cippillati Molisanai cookies
Ceppelliate/Cippillati Molisana (Baked crescent-shaped pastries filled with sour black cherry Amarene jam)
Originated from: Molise, Italy
Occasion: Christmas holidays
Contributed by: Adapted from an Italian cookbook published in the 1980s

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For the dough
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
7 oz lard
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
finely grated zest of 1 small lemon

For the filling
about 1 cup black sour cherry (Amarene) jam
about 1/2 cup coarsely ground walnuts or coarsely ground lightly roasted blanched almonds (optional)

For decoration (optional)
about 1/4 cup icing sugar

*In Casacalenda, Molise a similar jam-filled pastry is made and they call it "panzerotti."


To make dough

Mix sugar, salt, baking powder and flour together.

Cut lard into the flour mixture.

Add lemon zest and blend well.

Mix the egg yolks into the flour mixture and work into a firm dough.

Divide the dough into two portions.

Shape the dough into balls. Wrap with clear plastic wrap.

Allow the dough to rest for about 1/2 hour in the fridge.

Meanwhile, set aside about 1 cup of sour black cherry (Amarene) jam.

Add the coarsely ground walnuts or lightly roasted almonds to the jam (Optional).

Using a rolling pin or pasta maker roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick.

Cut out 2 1/2-inch disks.

Place about a tablespoon of filling in center of each disk.

Fold over the dough and seal the edges, giving them the shape of crescents, or of "horseshoes" (To form "horseshoes" one simply has to round out the edges).

Bake at 350 F. till golden degrees for about 18 to 26 minutes.


Store in appropriate containers.

Dust with icing sugar before serving (Optional).


Molise produces a wonderful and unique sour black cherry jam made with locally-grown cherries. The jam is made with "amareno" sour black cherries; it is commercially available in and around Molise, but most people living in the area make their own jam as the sour black cherry trees are quite plentiful. My sister who went to Molise this summer (2013) brought me back a jar which she bought in a store and I can attest to the fact that it is absolutely delicious. Best jam (or is it a marmalade?) I have ever eaten in my whole life (and I'm not that young, in fact I might even be considered old, depending on who is judging -- the young or not so young!). In fact, the amarene jam is so good I would not use it to make pastries (Its flavor might be altered in the heat). I would only have it "as is," or possibly, on bread. I would definitely not bake with it. However, if I were living in Molise, and the jam were easily available (and if it were cheap) I might, just might, use it for baking. Still, even though the traditional way of doing "ceppelliate" is to stuff the pastry with the jam "as is" I would add some nuts, as any pastry that is stuffed with jam is far too sweet to my liking. Also, the nuts would help thicken the filling, making it less likely that it would leak out while in the oven. According to a relative who still lives in Casacalenda, the jam, is used to make "panzerotti." Apparently, Molise is not the only region in the South that makes these crescent-shaped/horseshoe-shaped baked pastries filled with marmalade or jam. Most regions do it, except they use the fruit marmalade or jams that are specific to their area. Of course, the names of these sweets vary. Every little town and village might have a different name for the exact same sweet. That's Italy for you. A thousand little kingdoms in each region, each with its own customs, language and culinary heritage. Personal comments and photo: Mary Melfi.

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