It is said that the Bocconotti are typical sweets from Abruzzo, in reality it is a recipe that many regions contend each other: in fact, there are also Calabrian Bocconotti, those from Salento, Molise, Basilicata and Puglia. We can say that the Bocconotti are widespread in different regions of Italy, the original recipes generally include two different fillings, depending on the area and family traditions.
The origins of the Abruzzese Bocconotti are not certain but, according to popular tradition, it was born between the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth centuries, when cocoa arrived in Europe. It is said that a maid on duty at a home in the Abruzzo region (Castel Frentano, near Chieti) decided to prepare a dessert for her master that had the shape of a coffee cup, thus creating the first Bocconotti filled with liquid coffee and chocolate. In subsequent preparations he then added also the yolks and almonds, to thicken the mixture, and covered the cake with a small lid of pastry. It is said that it was the same master who called that sweet “Bocconotto” because, given its small shape, it could be eaten in one gulp. However, the word Bocconotto is mentioned for the first time in the Abruzzese dictionary by Domenico Bielli in 1930 with the following definition: “buccunotte: round-shaped pastry filled with honey, cream, chocolate, whipped cream or other”.
The authentic recipe that we propose is prepared with a filling of liquid coffee and chocolate, while the shortcrust pastry has Marsala in it to give a strong and wonerdful flavour. The ingredient that never lacks in any Bocconotti recipe is almonds in the filling.
Prepare the shortcrust pastry with oil. In a large pot mix the egg yolk with the sugar, add oil and flour alternately. Scent with marsala and lemon.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and work it for a few moments to form a ball. Put it in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Prepare the filling: take a pan and put the sugar in the water, bring to the boil and syrup by mixing until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the chocolate in little pieces, the chopped almonds and the coffee.
Let everything cool. Then add the egg yolks and cinnamon, put back on the heat and simmer for about ten minutes to obtain a cream
Cover the cups with a thin layer of pastry, place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center.
Close each cup with a pastry disk, seal the edges well and bake at 170-180 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Take the Bocconotti out of the oven, let them cool and sprinkle with plenty of icing sugar.
There are many variations of this regional dessert: one of these involves the use of bitter cocoa instead of dark chocolate, or the filling wit jam, especially black grape or balck cherries ... try to experiment and let us know which is your favorite version of Bocconotti!
The Bocconotti can be kept at room temperature for about 4-5 days, possibly under a glass bell. You can freeze the Bocconotti after having cooked and cooled them. You can also freeze the raw pastry, wrapped with film.