What’s Cooking Wednesday Recipe: Calabrian Cuzzupa for Easter/Pasqua

OK, I know Easter has come and gone, but I promised a cuzzupa recipe about a week ago, and a cuzzupa recipe you shall have.

So this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday is a recipe out of my friend Mary Amabile Palmer’s cookbook, Cucina di Calabria: Treasured Recipes and Family Traditions from Southern Italy. This is a wonderful collection of authentic Calabrese recipes interspersed with essays about the history and culture of this region as well as family memories.

Check out the book on Amazon, but if you’d like to buy it, please let me know as I can get you both a discount and a signed copy.

Cuzzupe di Pasqua*

4 tbsp butter/margarine (softened)
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 c milk
1 tsp lemon extract
1 3/4 c all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder


Preheat oven to 375°F.In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, and salt. Cream until well blended. Gradually add egg, milk, and lemon extract. Mix well. Stir in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth.

Shape dough into cakes as shown in the above picture, and brush with melted butter; you can also sprinkle some sugar on top as well.

Place cakes on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake until a light golden brown (about 15 minutes).

Note that you can make the icing as seen in last week’s photo by mixing 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of water. Rainbow sprinkles are a common addition once the glaze in on the cakes.

*I left out the instructions on making the ring or basket which holds hard-boiled, colored eggs as that’s not what’s made where I am; for more instructions, looks like you’ll just have to get a copy of the book!

Buon appetito!

And now, as a special bonus this Wednesday, a cooking meme that Shannon (the founder of WCW) tagged me with a while back:

1. Can you cook? If yes do you like to cook?
Why yes and yes again.

2. When does your whole family come together to eat?
Suppose it depends on how you define “whole family.” P and I eat together twice a day usually. With the rest of his family, we haven’t had a meal yet with everyone (he has 2 brothers and 4 sisters spread around Italy and France), but the closest we came was last summer when there were 2 sisters, 1 brother, and their kids in one tiny room. With my family, well, P hasn’t even met them yet.

3. What do you have for breakfast?
On colder days, something warm to drink (coffee, cappuccino), but in the summer iced coffee. Sometimes I have toast, other times a cornetto, sometimes a banana. Depends on my mood.

4. When, where and how do you eat through the week?
Breakfast either at home or at the bar any time between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. Lunch at home at 12:30 on weekdays, later on the weekends. Dinner at home anytime between 7:30 and 10:00 p.m.

5. How often do you eat out?
Not very often, although more frequently in the summer. Food’s better at home!

6. How often do you order in or get take out?
Not a common occurrence, but P will sometimes go and pick up pizza on Saturday nights.

7. Re: 5 & 6 – if money were no object would like to do it more often?
Nah. We’d just buy a lot of really good ingredients–and probably eat a lot more seafood.

8. Are there any standards that make a regular appearance at your table?
Um, you could say pasta is a frequent visitor.

9. Have you ever tried a recipe from another blog?
Not yet, but that’s mostly because I can’t find the ingredients I need to make the things that look so yummy. I’m storing them away, though, for when I go to the States.

10. Are there any quarrels because of food?
Not anymore. P likes to cook, but he basically likes to do it alone (no problem there!). Once I understood that, I just learned to make myself otherwise useful when he’s cooking. When I’m cooking, I’m much more relaxed in the kitchen, so I’m easy to get along with when I cook.

11. Are you a vegetarian or could you imagine living as a vegetarian?
I’m not a vegetarian, but I could imagine doing so–the biggest stress would be going to people’s houses for dinner and finding something to eat. I already have problems with that if all they’ve made is frittole (boiled pig parts)….

12. What would you like to try out that you haven’t dared yet?
I’d try sushi just to see what all the fuss is about, but that won’t be happening in southern Italy anytime soon.

13. Would you rather cook or bake?
Hmm…probably bake because I’d probably rather eat baked goods than real food. Sad but true.

14. What was the most terrible mess you’ve ever made in the kitchen?
Thanksgiving last year. That was something.

15. What do your kids like to eat best? What would your kids never eat?
N/A, but I can almost guarantee any kids I have will like pasta. Or at least will be forcefed it.

16. What do you dislike most?
Wow, those boiled pig parts come to mind again. Then there’s “suzzu” (spelling?) which is (again) pig parts mixed with gelatin so that it’s a pudding. And then there’s ghiro (dormouse). I’m gagging just thinking of these things.

I won’t tag anyone, but you foodies out there should feel free to play along!

21 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday Recipe: Calabrian Cuzzupa for Easter/Pasqua”
  1. cheeky

    Thanks for that. I’m interested in that cookbook. I will have to go and have a peek.
    I like how you incorporated the même with the WCW.
    The “pig parts” make me wanna hurl! In gelatin, nonehtheless? LOL Yikes!

  2. cheeky

    *nonetheless – the perfectionist in me hates typos!

  3. Sara

    Oh, those look yummy! Are they kind of like Mexican pan dulce? They sound like them.

    Our last cat was a devotee of pan dulce. He once snatched an entire one out of my hand and carried it off to a dark corner where he could devour it privately like prey.

    Not that I think that’s relevant. 🙂

  4. Ally Bean

    This is a fun meme. I’ll do it on my blog one of these days. Like you, we rarely eat out ’cause the food is better at home. Not very fancy, mind you, but better nonetheless.

  5. JennDZ

    I am definately interested in the cookbook! Should I email you? I think you posted your email in an earlier post.

    And I am going to play along with the foodie meme you did! 🙂

  6. Judith in Umbria

    Considering how prolific a blogger you are, it’s amazing that you also cook what you eat! I do promise you that every recipe on my blog is easy to make, and uses ingredients you can find here, except the one with pecans.
    How about more seafood recipes? I can’t eat sweets much but fishies R good!

  7. sognatrice

    Everyone interested in the cookbook, I’ve put my email address in the sidebar finally, so do send me a message; I’ll get you in touch with the author ASAP.

    Cheeky, I’m the same with typos…I *hate* when I leave them in comments!

    Sara, I’ve never had the Mexican pan dulce, but from what I’ve seen, they do look similar. Too funny about your cat–and yes, it was entirely releveant!

    Ally, Jenn, can’t wait to read your memes! If you think of it, come back and put up the link when you’ve done it so everyone else can find you too.

    Judith, more seafood will be on the way for summer–I’ve already asked P when he plans on going fishing 😉

    So far, what I’ve posted as recipes are things we eat all the time (except for this one, of course), so I’d be making the stuff and eating it anyway…of course, soon I’ll run out of staples and have to experiment, so we’ll see how my Italian eater goes for that. Anyway, I definitely plan on trying some of your recipes (minus the pecans, though) and some from some cookbooks I managed to bring along.

  8. JennDZ


    Here is the link to mine!

    I am going to email you!

  9. MinaLina

    Easter would not be Easter for me and my family without cuzzupe. My mother makes them every year. She enjoys making new and intricate designs, like fish, dolls, ducks, baskets, etc.

    Each year she makes me a doll and my husband a fish.

    Reading this blog was very sentimental for me. Thank you so much!!

    I enjoy reading your blogs.

  10. Tracie B.

    butter, sugar, eggs? how could you NOT love it?

  11. Aimee

    oooh! that bread looks delicious.

  12. Ola

    Thanks for the recipe, I will try making those soon! 🙂

  13. sognatrice

    Jenn, woohoo! You’ve done the meme!

    Minalina, thanks for visiting and sharing your memories 🙂

    Tracie, you have an *excellent* point.

    Aimee and Ola, delicious and pretty easy to make too. And just playing around with some leftover cuzzupa, I made a new dish when I smothered a big chunk in a strawberry/sugar mixture. Yum!

  14. 03.27.2008

    Thanks for pointing me this way! Next year I’ll have to try a bit of both; Cuzzupe e Cuddura!!

    Jill’s last blog post..Pasquetta

    Glad you came by Jill; I’m eating leftover cuzzupe right now 😉

  15. 04.07.2009

    Cuzzupe sounds wonderful. I’ll have to try and make it.
    Part of my family is from Naples, so I grew up with pastiera di grano at Easter.

    Buona Pasqua!

    elena’s last blog post..Abraco

    Mmmm lucky you, Elena! Hope you enjoy the cuzzupa!

  16. AmyEmilia

    Got my Cucina di Calabria cookbook on Friday… can’t wait to work through some of the recipes. Grazie mille for pointing it out!

    So happy you got it! Enjoy 😀

  17. Hey there! This cuzzupe looks great … you’re the first person who introduced me to this recipe – I’ll be trying it for Easter 😉 Also will be posting the questionnaire on my blog … fun stuff!!

    Hope you enjoy!

  18. Here’s the questionnaire: http://mylifeinapyramid.com/2011/04/19/monday-red-berry-smoothie-and-a-little-bit-about-my-food-habits/ Was fun to fill out – thanks so much! Have a lovely day 🙂

    Thanks Heba!

  1. [...] 4. If you’re looking for traditional Calabrian Easter cake, check out Calabrian Cuzzupe. [...]... bleedingespresso.com/2008/03/la-buona-cucina-americana-plus-pasqua-in-calabria.html
  2. [...] from scratch. Sounds like the start of an exotic and beautiful novel. Anyway, so she posted a short qu... mylifeinapyramid.com/2011/04/19/monday-red-berry-smoothie-and-a-little-bit-about-my-food-habits
  3. [...] from scratch. Sounds like the start of an exotic and beautiful novel. Anyway, so she posted a short qu... mylifeinapyramid.com/2011/04/monday-red-berry-smoothie-and-a-little-bit-about-my-food-habits



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