06 Jun Baking “cavallucci” – Traditional Italian baking recipe from Marche region
Some traditional cakes are so unusual to find, such a unique combination of flavours you end up thinking they are really, really hard to bake. That’s exactly what happen to me and the making of “cavallucci” or “little horses” (also known as “gallucci” or “little chikens” in other areas of my region, so choose whatever animal you like).
The smell of “sapa” and baked dough mixed to a wine scent is so rare even in my grandmother’s house that it is really a big event finding these red cakes with brown filling. And what a great filling. Ingredients are so many is almost magical how they perfectly taste together and how you can perfectly recognise every note, from coffee to rhum. The funny thing is that, after the first time I made them under my grannies’ glasses supervision, I found out it was just a matter of time and patience on filling each roll and maybe also a matter of finding the whole ingredients’ list, but the rest was not more difficult than any other baking recipe.
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS: some of them might be really “Italian” but sometimes you can find a substitute abroad too or in some e-shops.
- SAPA or SABA: a traditional “cooked must” prepared in “just” 8/9 hours! Is similat to “vino cotto”, but a lot more dense. Really hard to substitute…but you can try find it online.
- MISTRA’: tipical marche anisette you can esasily substitute with an anise liqueur.
- ALCHERMES: Italian liqueur used for cakes’ preparations. Use a sweet cake’s liqueur if you can’t find this! Better if is colour red. Is for the final red touch! Otherwise use red food coloring.
Everything starts the day before preparing the filling which has to rest a whole night. Mix together 0,5 lt of sapa, 250 gr of sugar, 700 gr of walnuts (to be shelled), 40 gr raisin, 40 gr pine nuts, 70 gr almonds, 2 cups of coffee, 1 orange grated peel, 1 lemon grated peel, 2 cocoa powder spoons, 300 gr of greated bread. If after one night is still a little bit liquid add more grated bread.
The next day is time to prepare the dough mixing by hand or with a kneader 200 gr of sugar, 2 glasses of white wine, 1 glass of arachid oil, 1 lemon extract, 1 vanilla extract, 1 egg, 1 dry yeast (the dose for 1,5 kg of dough), 1 kg of flour. It is important to add flour as needed while kneading: the dough has to stay soft enough, but not sticky (it does not have to stick on your hands and rolling pin).
Now divide the dough to make some rolls and wrap them up in aluminium foils. Put all the rolls into the fridge for 10 minutes to make them rest and become also less sticky after cooling down.
Open one roll and cut little rounded scoops of 50 gr weight approximately. Rolled out the dough in a rectangular shape and fill it with 1 tea spoon or 2 of filling. Roll it up and close at the ends.
Now cut with a knife the extreme parts (the ones without filling) making 2 little horizontal cuts on each side.
Put cavallucci on a baking tray covered with baking paper and finally make 2 little cuts in the centre, so that you can see the filling. Bake for approxinately 15 minutes at 170 degrees till they become golden on the surface.
Let them cool down and then brush with alchermes on top. Garnish sprinkling white sugar.