The Tortorici royal pastry is a traditional religious dessert, similar to numerous other variations of hazelnut-based pastries produced by nuns for religious festivals. It has a flat and irregular shape with a bulge in the centre, which according to some is meant to symbolise the mountain of San Pietro which overlooks the town. For others, however, it reminds them of a crown, in fact it was customary to offer pastries to kings. The tradition of the royal pastry was established in Tortorici in the mid-nineteenth century, following a confiscation order from the Kingdom of Italy, which took the possessions of religious entities. The provision ensured that the wealthy families of Tortorici welcomed the nuns into their homes and that convent recipes were handed down to the Oricense people, including the royal pastry.
There are only a few simple ingredients necessary, sugar, water and hazelnuts grown within the Nebrodi Natural Park, an area of great biodiversity, where numerous local ecotypes of hazelnuts are still preserved (‘cart’, ‘ghirara’, ‘curcia’ and other ecotypes generically called ‘minnulara’). The hazelnuts are toasted, then crushed and mixed with the sugar and water. The dough rests for a few hours and then pine-cone-shaped loaves are formed which are placed in a tray to rest for two or three days, depending on their weight. It is cooked in a preheated oven at about 160°C/170°C. At this temperature the sugar melts, emptying the inside of the shape and creating the characteristic central bulge. The caramelisation which occurs at this temperature gives the pastry a colour which is more or less dark.
It is produced all year round.
The Presidium, in addition to the cultivation of hazelnuts, supports the Tortorici pastry shops that pass on the tradition of the royal pastry from mother to daughter, safeguarding a dessert of high cultural and gastronomic value, which is often subject to attempts at being imitated.
Production area: Municipality of Tortorici, province of Messina.
Supported by: Regione siciliana
Pasticceria Dolce Incontro
di Lidia Calà Scarcione
Via Garibaldi, 5/7
Tel. +39 331 7284435
Pasticceria la Bottega reale Ciancio
di Giuseppe Ciancio
C.da Cappuccini, 22
Tel. +39 327 8633434