Pardulas | Traditional Sweet Pie From Sardinia, Italy{Image Attribution via TasteAtlas}

Buongiorno amici:


Without a doubt, some selected as a symbol of Sardinia, Pardulas is a delicious explosion of contrasting tastes. Their goodness and fragrance have crossed both regional and national borders, a confectionery product appreciated worldwide and part of the PAT (Traditional Sardinian Agri-food Products).

The Sardinian island’s ancient identity is also expressed through these sweets, baked over the centuries by the “druccere” teachers’ meticulous work. They continue to share with us these natural treasures to delight the palate. And in the ancient Sardinian tradition, dinner cannot mark its epilogue if the Pardulas do not appear on the dessert table. The complexity of this dessert varies in different elaborations according to Sardinia’s area where produced. Pardule or Pardulas with Arrescottu if you are in the Campidano area, with fresh ricotta as a base. In the Sassari territory they become Formaggelle or Casadinas.

Once you move to the Nuoro area, fresh sheep cheese replaces the cow’s milk ricotta. Thin sheets of dough, with a rounded top filled with the cheese. It is that simple. It is a traditional Easter and Holy Saturday sweet and often includes a hint of lemon or orange flavor as an enhancement. Omnipresent on the Sardinians’ tables, including during the Day of the Dead symbolically and with devotion given to the animeddas, the dead’s souls.

The Druccere teachers begin to make Pardulas at the beginning of the spring, topping the finished delicacy with powdered sugar or granulated sugar. Because of its widespread popularity in different areas of the regional territory, local variations and customizations coexist. Different interpretations originate from this very ancient recipe whose birth is lost in time, descending from the Greek-Roman “placentas,” small puff pastry cakes whose preparation and ingredients, apparently included, in Cato’s writing “De Agri Cultura.”

The etymology of the name Pardulas is not sure, and some indicate the origin in the Latin word quadrula, or square, which describes its geometric shape. The Sardinians believe that the Pardulas soft dome resembles the belly of an expecting mother. And like a mother hides the most precious soul, coming to light in a riot of fragrant flavors such as saffron, lemon, and orange that coexist perfectly with ricotta or other cheeses.

Literature has given us pages of several authors who wrote about the Pardulas in their narratives. One of them is Antonio Gramsci, who in one of the letters sent from prison to his mother dreamed of reliving one of those lunches where he met in harmony the whole family around “kulurzones e pardulas.”

The pardulas, in certain towns of Cagliari and Oristano, served as an ancestral gift to Maria Puntaoru, the horrid witch of Sardinian legends. She wandered through the villages of the island with a long curved iron and with an insatiable hunger. Tradition has it that on the night between October 31 and November 1, the houses’ doors remained open so that the witch spirit could enter and eat sweets, thus preserving the womb of gluttonous children from its iron tool.

At sight, these sweets appear almost like a flower, a small succulent basket with edges decorated like a doily, an effect created by the ancient, handed-down gesture of pinching the dough in the four corners during cooking. The strong connotation with its land, and traditions, is the undeniable quality of the Sardinian people—the sweet confirmation of the love for a dessert that has magically crossed the barriers of time.

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Ingredients for about 24 Pardulas

Ricotta filling

Two cups of fresh sheep milk ricotta

1/2 cup of caster (superfine) sugar

One + 1/2 cups of plain (all-purpose) flour

One whole egg, plus one egg yolk

Zest of ½ large orange

Zest of ½ large lemon

½ teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of saffron (or ½ tsp pure vanilla essence)


Six ounces of fine semolina

Two teaspoons of caster (superfine) sugar

1-1/2 tablespoons of butter, cubed

Plain (all-purpose) flour for dusting


Two tbsp warmed honey, mixed with 1 tbsp hot water


You will need a pasta machine.

To make the ricotta filling, place the ricotta in a bowl and whisk for several minutes until the ricotta is super smooth. Add the sugar, flour, eggs, zest, baking powder, and saffron and whisk until smooth. Set the ling aside while you make the dough.

Place the semolina and caster sugar on a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Drop in the butter and work it through the semolina using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 30 ml (1 oz) water and work it through the dough. Drizzle in another 30 ml (1 oz) water, a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and pliable. Divide into two and set half aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough half into a rectangle, then put it through the widest setting of a pasta machine. Reduce the setting, then roll it through again, repeating and making it thinner each time until you reach the middle setting. Cut out dough circles using a 9 cm (3½ in) cookie cutter, re-rolling any scraps to make more circles. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should have 14–15 circles in total.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place a heaped tablespoon of ricotta filling in the center of each circle, leaving a 1 cm (½ in) border. Pinch the dough on either side of the circle using your thumb and forefinger, then repeat at intervals around the circle until you have six points. Flatten the ricotta with your finger or the back of a spoon and place it on the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Bake for 30–35 minutes until the ricotta is pale golden and cooked through. Set aside to cool on a wire rack and brush with the honey and water. Eat warm or at room temperature. Pardule will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for two days.

{Recipe Attribution via Italian Street Food. (Smith Street Books).

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There is a constant, recognizable thread in Walter Potenza's career to elevate the level of Italian culinary culture in the United States. Besides his unquestionable culinary talent and his winning business perspective, Chef Walter has been a relentless educator with passion and knowledge who contributes to defeating stereotypes. His life, career, and values are a model, an example to follow, by any Italian gastronomy chef working outside Italy. A native of Mosciano Sant' Angelo in Abruzzo, Italy, is known as one of the most passionate and accomplished practitioners of traditional and historical Italian cooking in the nation. His fields of expertise include Terracotta Cookery, Historical Cookery from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, the Cuisines of the Sephardim Italian Jewish Heritage, and the Mediterranean 21 Health & Wellness, with major emphasis on Diabetes, Celiac and the Cuisines of the 21 countries present in the MED basin.

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