Gobeletti, the traditional Italian Riviera pastries, are my sweet recipe of this approaching Christmas. A home made, elegant dessert and an easy way to cuddle your family. Why I chose this recipe?
In my granny’s house, at the end of a long corridor, there was a door, always carefully closed. Behind the door, her pantry. A narrow dark room with shelves up to the ceiling on each side. Mysterious boxes, bottles, jars, piles of plates and glasses, trays and many old and new kitchen tools were crowding it. Among all that clutter tottering piles of tiny copper molds and next to them two old round tin boxes from which a delicate delicious smell was coming out. There my granny jealously used to guard her pastries. Indeed, she was famous for the small shortbread pastries – gobeletti and lemon custard tartelettes in particular- she used to offer during her tea parties. They were matter of endless compliments and subtle envies from her friends.
So, when my granny would have a tea party, we kids were absolutely not allowed even to mention those smelling tin boxes stored on that unreachable shelf of her pantry. Obviously, each time she was plating her pastries the figures didn’t add up!
So, if I have to think about a desirable, yummy, joyful pastry to offer to my beloved ones I think immediately to my granny’s gobeletti.
Gobeletti in the tradition
Gobeletti are the flagship of Italian Riviera sweets. Both East and West Riviera claim its paternity. In the East Italian Riviera, in the Tigullio Gulf, people call them “cubeletti”, in the West, close to Finale “gobeletti”.
Either way, they are small tartlets with a cup shape (the traditional molds – which I couldn’t find in my pantry, grunt! – have a corolla shape) sealed on top with a “hat” of dough (and this is probably the reason the name: “cappello” is hat in Italian, and “cappelletti” means small hats).
Inside, the filling is usually jam. The traditional eastern recipes provides for quince jam. In the west gobeletti are filledwith chinotto jam (chinotto is an ancient local variety of bitter orange, you can discover more on my post on Chinotto of Savona). Old cookbook authors suggest also to fill them with custard.
Nowadays you can find Gobeletti all year round in most bakeries and pastry shops (usually filled with apricot jam). In the past they were the typical pastry for the day of Sant’Agata, on the 5th of February.
Gobeletti recipe and some tips.
Gobeletti are easy to prepare. Few tips for an easy preparation
Take the unsalted butter out of the fridge 15-30 minutes before cooking and cut it in small dices.
Pour all the ingredients in a wide bowl or on your working surface and work them quickly with the tips of your finger. The aim is to keep the butter as cold as possible and get small grains of butter covered by flour. If butter melt too much with the warmth of your hands, in fact, the dough will be less crumbly.
I used just egg yolks as I love crumbly shortbread. But if you need a more resistant dough, for example because you will fill the pastry with custard or a very liquid filling, it’s better to use also some egg white, i.e. using a whole egg instead of two egg yolks.
I filled my gobeletti with chinotto jam and with few dark chocolate chunks to increase the contrast with the sweetness of the dough and to make them more decadent.
If you can find corolla molds, they are the traditional shape. Otherwise you can use a cupcake tin as I did. Just be careful to butter very well the surface before folding the dough inside.
Decorate at your pleasure with powdered sugar. I added a candied cherry because it makes Christmas immediately!!!
I baked this recipe last week with my friend Gaia (aka @aliceadventuresinwanderland) during a lazy morning spent in the kitchen cooking, chatting and having fun with the camera. Most of the pictures in this post are hers. She is a great photographer, don’t you think?