The brasadè is a typical doughnut from the village of Staghiglione, in the Oltrepò Pavese. Its name comes from the dialect and means bracelet. In ancient times, the doughnuts tied with a string were placed on the wrists of children during long religious ceremonies, so they could hide them under their robes and eat them several times. Over time, the brasadé became a local culinary tradition. Since the early 20th century, the donuts have been offered as gifts from godfathers and godmothers to confirmands, always tied in necklaces with string.
Today, the custom of the confirmation gift has been lost, but doughnuts continue to be produced in a single bakery in Schizzola, in the municipality of Borgo Priolo.
The pastry shop, opened in 1920, has been producing brasadè for three generations, with an exclusively family-run business and a packaging of around 50 kilos a day, a quantity that increases during the festive season. The product is available all year round but becomes particularly popular on Easter Monday, when the village of Staghiglione hosts the Brasadè Festival.
The recipe, which has not changed over time, is made up of a few simple ingredients: flour, now bought from the nearby Voghera mills and made from local type 00 wheat, sugar, butter, lard and water. Tradition has preserved not only the recipe, but also the typical technique of wrapping them in a necklace of eleven doughnuts. The pattern has been the same for over a hundred years: five doughnuts are threaded through the flat side facing the same direction, and the other five in the opposite direction, while the eleventh is used as a clasp to which the ends of the string are tied. The process is completely manual, producing a dough of medium consistency which is then worked into strands of dough, cut into pieces and folded to create the doughnut. Baking is another characteristic element of this product and consists of two stages: the first in which the doughnuts are placed in very hot water, followed by cooling in the air and the second baking in a wood-fired oven for browning. Thanks to the cooking process, the product becomes very crispy and can be stored for a long time.
The resulting brazade has a diameter of 5-7 cm and each doughnut weighs 35-40 grams. It has an intense golden colour and a delicate flavour. The texture is crunchy.
It is eaten as a dessert, often accompanied by sweet local wine. Older people like to accompany it with sparkling Bonarda.
In the area there are some products similar to the brasadè of Staghiglione, but of more recent tradition, such as the brasadè of Broni, which differs in the ingredients used, the doughnut of Mornico and that of Torricella Verzate.