FOOD From the Heart of the Old Ghetto, Pizza di Beridde

pizzeBy Benedetta Guetta*

One of the best kept secrets in the Jewish ghetto of Rome is called pizza ebraica or pizza di Beridde. It’s a heavy, warm, dense fruitcake type of cookie, that traditionally looks pretty burned and perhaps not edible, but tastes absolutely delish. The real recipe used by the 5 ladies who run the kosher bakery in the ghetto is – of course – a secret that will never be revealed, but I have made many attempts at imitating the original and I believe I have a close copycat pizza di Beridde recipe ready to be shared with you. These enormous cookies are rich in calories, but healthy, pareve (they are made with oil instead of butter) and vegan: they are perfect for a nourishing breakfast or a nutritious afternoon snack.

Pizza di Beridde

70 g almond meal or ground almonds
220 g cake flour
80 g sugar
100 g sunflower oil
70 g white wine approx.
raisins or sultanas, previously soaked in water
pinenuts and almonds, previously toasted
candied fruit, chopped

Preheat the oven at the highest temperature it can reach: the hotter the oven, the better the cookies. Put sugar, flour and almond meal in a bowl, then gently pour in the oil and mix well by hand. Fold in nuts, raisins and candied fruit, then add the wine, a little bit at a time, until the dough reaches the perfect consistency: supple, workable, not too sticky. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper and pat the dough on it to form a flat loaf. Cook the prepared dough in the hot oven until nicely browned: it has to turn out almost burnt on top, while still sort of soft in the centre. Cut the loaf into big, thick slices and serve them warm, or at room temperature.

*Benedetta Guetta runs the blog