Wednesday, April 24 2024

Pasticciotto leccese, a delicious dessert typical of the city of Lecce in Puglia, Italy, is a delicacy that enchants palates with its crumbly crust and soft, creamy heart. This dessert, which originated in the heart of Salento, has a rich history that has extended beyond Italian borders, following the path of many Italian emigrants over the decades.


The Origins of Pasticciotto Leccese

The history of pasticciotto leccese dates back to the 19th century, when the creativity of local pastry chefs gave birth to this exquisite goodness. The traditional recipe calls for a crumbly, buttery pastry dough that envelops a sweet and fragrant custard filling. The particularity of the pasticciotto lies in its shape: a small open cake, often decorated with a lattice on the surface.

The pasticciotto has become a symbol of Lecce’s confectionery tradition and, over the years, has won the palate of tourists and locals alike. This dessert is often associated with special events, such as weddings and holidays, celebrating the authentic taste of Salento.



The Emigration of Pasticciotto to America.

With the wave of Italian emigration to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, pasticciotto leccese began its transatlantic journey. Italian emigrants brought with them not only their stories and traditions, but also the flavors of their homeland.

In Italian-American communities, pasticciotto retained its status as a delicacy, becoming an important element in family celebrations and community festivals. Pastry shops run by Italian families began to prepare and offer pasticciotto, keeping alive the culinary traditions of the Italian regions of origin.


Pasticciotto Today: A Link Between Two Worlds

Today, pasticciotto leccese can be enjoyed in many cities in the United States, where the Italian-American community continues to preserve its cultural roots through cooking. Traditional and modern bakeries offer this delicious dessert, allowing Americans to savor an authentic piece of Leccese culture without having to travel all the way to Italy.

With its history crossing geographic and cultural boundaries, pasticciotto leccese represents a tangible link between Italian traditions and the Italian diaspora.

This delicious dessert continues to tell stories of family, emigration and a culinary identity that has crossed the ocean to find a new home in America.


Utica, a city located in upstate New York, has a long history of Italian immigration, with a significant presence of Italian-American communities.

This city became a major destination for Italians seeking job opportunities and a new life in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

With the arrival of these emigrants also came Italian flavors and culinary traditions, including the delicious pasticciotto leccese.

In Utica’s Italian-American communities, pasticciotto leccese found fertile ground to take root and flourish.

Pastry shops run by Italian families began making and serving this traditional dessert, bringing a piece of Salento culture to the heart of the United States.

Pasticciotto has become an important element in family celebrations, holidays and special moments, connecting generations through the authentic taste of tradition.

In many cases, the recipes and techniques for making pasticciotto have been passed down from generation to generation, keeping its authenticity alive and making it a symbol of cultural continuity.

Utica’s Italian-American community has embraced pasticciotto not only as a delicious dessert, but also as a link to their roots and the traditions of their ancestors.

Today, you can find pastry shops and bakeries in Utica that offer pasticciotto leccese, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy this Italian specialty without having to travel all the way to Italy.

This dessert has helped shape Utica’s culinary culture, transforming from a simple traditional dessert to an important part of the town’s rich gastronomic history.




Pasticciotto Leccese has two variations.

The classic Pasticciotto filled with custard or the pasticciotto filled with custard and black cherry and covered with powdered sugar.

I propose the recipe for pasticciotto filled with custard and black cherry.

Makes between 15 pasticciotti


For the dough:

  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp of butter, cold
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of icing sugar and extra for finishing


In a food processor put the flour and butter and process until combined .

Place the mixture in a bowl or on the counter and add the powdered sugar and egg yolks.

Mix until the dough is nice and smooth.

Allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

Roll out the dough and line the molds.

Fill them with 1 tablespoon of black cherries and top with the vanilla custard.

Then top with the pastry.

Bake at 350ΒΊF for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Allow to cool and finish with powdered sugar.


For the pastry cream

  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3/4 cup of sugar

Other ingredients:

  • amarena cherries jam or in syrup
  • extra icing sugar for finishing




Bring the milk with the vanilla pod to a boil.

Mix the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl.

Add the flour.

Stir in the hot milk and return to low heat, stirring constantly until the cream thickens and boils for one minute.

Let it cool before using it for the filling.

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