The Virgins Breasts
Made in Sambuca di
Minni ri Vergini ri
Around the year 1725, the
marquees of Sambuca gave to Suor Virginia the assignment to create a new dessert: she was a nun –baker, in the
Monastery “Collegio di Maria” in Sambuca in the province of Agrigento.
The occurrence to celebrate
was the wedding of the area’s lord, marquis Beccardelli, the marquees son. Suor Virginia created this new
dessert, using the ingredients available in the convent: milk, flour, honey, eggs, butter, jasmine, lemon spices
and the abundant squashes growing in the monastery’s vegetable garden.
These pastries made in the
shape of a breast, symbol of fertility, are made with an outer layer of pasta frolla (shortbread dough) stuffed
with lemon flavored eggless cream (Bianco Mangiare), with preserved squash and diced candied citron in addition to
chocolate shavings. Each ingredient should be placed in layers to differentiate and enhance the taste of each
component; the pastry are covered with a light lemon glace and decorated with rainbow colored
From:The Sambuca Newspaper http://www.valledelbelice.net
Makes about 12
- 1 ¼ lb. all purpose flour
- ½ lb. granulated sugar (1
- ½ lb. lard or sweet
butter (1 cup or 2 sticks)or half lard & half butter
- 1 tablespoon of
- 1 egg plus 3 egg yolks,
- grated rinds (zest) from
- ¼ teaspoon of baking
- ¼ teaspoon of dried
- pinch of
- Extra flour for dusting
or to add
Squash Preserve. See recipe. Prepare ½ recipe, a day ahead. Mix into
- ¼ teaspoon of
- 5 drops Jasmine
flavor; itcan be found in Thai food shops 1oz. about $4)
Egg Less Custard Prepare ½ recipe, a day ahead.
Citron 2 oz.
- Bittersweet or semi-sweet
The Pastry Dough
Mound flour on a flat surface and form a well or
place into a bowl. Add the sugar, butter, eggs, salt, honey, ginger, zest of lemon, pinch of salt and the baking
Use your hands and mix it until it will shape into
coarse crumbs of diverse sizes.
Knead and bring the mixture together to form a
ball. Fold and press with the palm of your hands; do not over mix. Do not handle dough more than necessary. If
dough crumbles, and feels to dry because mixture was over mixed add a few teaspoon cold water, one at a time; if
dough is sticky, add little more flour.
Form dough into a single mass and cover with a
clean kitchen rag or with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Divide dough in 2 pieces and knead briefly to
compact; on a lightly floured working surface, roll out one piece to ¼ of an inch thick.
Using a round cutter (or the rim of a glass) 4
inches across, cut 10 to 12 circles and set on a lightly floured pan.
Knead the other piece of dough with any scrapes,
compact it and roll it out ¼ of an inch thick. Using a round cutter (or the rim of a glass) 4 inches across cut
10 to 12 circles and set on a lightly floured pan.
Set leftover scraps on the side.
Breasts of Virgin
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking
sheet or line it with parchment paper.
Brush half of the disks with the egg wash; place 1
tablespoon of the egg less custard cream in the center of each disk put on top a tablespoon of the squash
preserve, sprinkle a few pieces of diced candied citron and some chocolate shavings.
Cover each pasty with another disk and press all
around to seal.
Place each pastry onto a greased baking sheet 2
inches apart and as you transfer them, with your cupped hands, try to shape into a semi sphere with a
culminating point resembling a breast.
Very importantly: make sure that the cream is at
the bottom layer of the pastry.
Wash the pastries with egg white. Use the leftover
scrapes to crown the top of each breast with a piece of dough the size and shape of a cherry to resemble the
Bake the pastries for 20 to 25 minutes or until
they are a golden color.
Place pastries on a rack on top of a clean baking
pan, to cool.
Prepare a lemon flavored glaze. (See recipe)
Cool the pastries and afterward use a brush to lightly cover each with the glaze.
Garnish with colored rainbow sprinkles and place each minni di vergine on a small paper doily or a small serving
dish. Serve at room temperature.