Savoiardi Biscuits 

(“Biscotti Savoiardi-Viscotta Furrincotti”) 


Mrs. Bernadette Johnson, whose family originally came from San Fratello in the province of Messina, sent this recipe to make these delicious breakfast cookie/cake her aunts Benedetta and Mariannina Calcaterra called them in their dialect ”Viscotta Furrincotti or Furrincozza” and in the region” Savoiardi. These biscuits are round and whitish tan in color, slightly harder than sponge cookies and they rise to a small mound in the center: they are delightful companions to a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. 


These cookies are very much tied with the history of San Fratello, as far as the name Furrincotti could derive from the Gallic “four”, pronounced fur, meaning oven and cottu meaning cooked and Furrincozzi meaning baked in the shape of cozzi, the abundant mussels available in the nearby shores. 


The people of San Fratello are called “Francisi”, French, because they speak Occitan, a dialect spoken in some Portuguese provinces, in the French region of La Provence and in Italy in Piedmont and Liguria regions. 

The town is called San Fratello, to honor the Brothers, Alfio, Cirino and Filadelfio, three Saints that are the Patrons of the village; in fact from May 7th to May 10th various rituals are carried out, including a flowers parade, a horse show with the breed of Sanfratellano horses, and in the old Norman Sanctuary, not far from the main square, religious celebrations are dedicated to the three Saints. 

San Fratello was founded in the XI century by Adelaide del Vasto, who introduced in the area the Provencal-Italic dialect spoken by her entourage, and the Anglo- Norman horses that evolved into a new breed called “Sanfratellano”. The local handmade “Sanfratellano” knifes are characterized by the handles made from cattle’s horns. 


In 1713, Victor Amadeus of Savoy was crowned king of Sicily and Naples, and when in 1754, the town of San Fratello was destroyed by a landslide, the administration sent Savoyards representatives and resources to help in the reconstruction of the town. Among other novelty they introduced an incredible delicious cookie made from few and simple ingredients called savoiardo: from San Fratello the recipe for these biscuits spread with same variations, all over Sicily. 

Alfio Pacino, the grandfather of Al Pacino, was born in San Fratello.


The aunts of Mrs. Bernadette Johnson, the Calcaterra from Sanfratello, made these biscuits using this easy recipe to bake these round biscuits, liked for breakfast and well enjoyed with a glass of Marsala wine. 


Makes 40 to 50 Round Savoiardi Biscuits  

                  Round Savoiardi 


  • 6 large eggs at room temperature 
  • 2 cups sugar (1lb.) 
  • 3 ½  cups of flour(1lb.) 





The Making 

Beat the eggs and the sugar at low speed for 15 minutes, to thoroughly blend the eggs; then add the flour in 1/2 cup increments, with a few minutes between increments while beating continuously. 


The Cookies 

Drop two tablespoons of the mixture on a wax paper lined cookie sheet two inches apart, and bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. 




The basic recipe for the Savoiardi is eggs, flour, sugar and optional cinnamon or vanilla, or a combination of them; however the way the ingredients are mixed and the oven temperature gives to the cookies a different consistency. 





In Palermo we use a similar recipe but we whip the egg whites separately, add the yolks one at a time, than add the sugar (we use powdered sugar), the flour, cinnamon and before we bake the Savoiardi at 375 degrees, we sift powered sugar on top, for a light crust; we use a pastry bag to spoon out the biscuits in the shape of a large fat finger.  


                           Oblong Shaped Savoiardi   


                           Savoiardi & Nutella