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Apulia’s Traditional Easter Treat

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

In Italy, every holiday comes with a hundred variations of ways to celebrate, traditional foods to eat, and stories of how it all came about. Easter is no different, and in the southern region of Apulia, la scarcella is not to be forgotten!

traditional italian scarcelle cookies on a checkered table

La scarcella is a simple cookie or cake formed into various shapes like an easter basket, bird, or bunny. The twist? They put a boiled egg on the cookie itself. Yeah, I know, hard to picture… Luckily, one of our Pugliese friends took some photos as his mamma flew through the recipe like a well-oiled machine and even smuggled her recipe to me.

The egg actually symbolizes Christ’s body, usually attached to the cookie with two pieces of dough forming a cross over the egg. Richer families would use three or more eggs and poorer families would use only one. In some areas, la scarcella is filled with jam.


½ cup extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup milk 1 egg for the dough, 1 egg for brushing on top and boiled eggs for decoration ¾ cup sugar 3 ½ cups flour, all-purpose 1 tsp. yeast Lemon zest from 1 lemon Sprinkles

mixing bowl with ingredients for baking

First, you mix together the flour and baking powder, eggs, sugar, olive oil, milk, and yeast until combined.


Add lemon zest!

making scarcella in puglia

Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick and form into desired shape. Here the mamma chose to make an Easter basket.


Brush with egg and add finishing decorations.


Bake at 360 F for 25 – 30 minutes, depending on if you’ve made large cakes or small cookies.

So interesting! I love learning about unique cultural traditions. What are some of your favorite Easter traditions around the world? Comment below!

Creative Edge Travel offers small group and custom trips to the lesser-known areas of Italy. Visit our Upcoming Trips page to see where we’re headed next!

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