This ring-shaped little cake (more or less like a douhgnut) has very simple ingredients: flour, yeast, eggs, extravirgin olive oil, laurel infusion, aniseeds and salt. The laurel is the key ingredient for its preparation, according to tradition, in fact, just a “female” plant (the one bearing fruits) leaves should be used, since it is considered to have a more delicate taste, not too strong or herbaceus.
The preparation of these ring-shaped cakes takes quite a while (everything begins the night before) and the first step is the preparation of the laurel infusion: around thirty laurel leaves are left to infuse in one litre water. When the water turns green and starts smelling nice, the pot can be taken off the fire, then part of the infusion is left in the pot while some anise is poured in the rest. All the ingredients, including the aniseeds, are kneaded together to get a solid dough that will have to rise in a warm place all night. The ensuing morning, the dough is kneaded again and, eventually, some parts are chopped off. These later result in 50 cm long strings, whose ends are joined together to have ring-shaped cakes. The laurel infusion that was left behind is boiled again and the cakes are boiled one after another, and stirred with a spoon every now and then. Then they are left to dry, their outer half is cut with a knife and then are baked. In the past, these ring-shaped cakes were made for weddings.
Just one baker is now preparing this traditional dessert in Sambuci, and just few families still know the recipe, allowing them to prepare the ciambella at home.