Cartellate are a typical Christmas and party dessert of Apulian cuisine. They are prepared with a very simple base of flour, sugar, extra-virgin olive oil, and white wine, then fried and immersed in a special syrup such as vincotto, which can be made out of figs or grapes depending on the area.
In the Christian tradition, cartellate represent the halo or the bands that wrapped the child Jesus in the manger, but also the crown of thorns at the time of the Crucifixion. Similar sweets are also produced in Calabria, where they are called nèvole or crispelle, and in Basilicata, where they are called roses or crispedde.
A very similar dessert called lanxsatura was first depicted in a sixth-century BC rock painting near Bari. The filled dish was offered to the gods according to the cult of Ceres, probably of Greek origin, and associated with offerings made to Demeter, goddess of the earth, during the Eleusinian mysteries.
At the dawn of Christianity, these ritual pancakes were transformed into gifts to the Madonna, cooked to invoke her intervention for the success of the crops.
The preparation of this dessert is not very simple, but we guarantee that the final result will be sensational. Here is our recipe for the delicious cartellate al vincotto.