The Cuzzupa is a typical dessert of the Easter tradition that symbolizes the end of the Lenten fast and the resurrection of Christ, represented by the presence of whole eggs, which are said to bring good fortune. The origins of this dessert are lost in the mists of time, in fact it was prepared even before the advent of Christianity and seems to come from the lands of the East. The name itself seems to derive from the Greek word "donut" (koutsoupon), a shape that is sometimes given to it. In fact, the Cuzzupa does not have a distinct shape but is thus defined based on the mixture, the taste and, as we said, also in the presence of whole eggs. This dessert, which has been included in the list of Traditional Agri-Foodstuffs (PAT) for its typicality, is also called Sguta or Cozzupa depending on the areas where it is prepared. Various customs and curiosities are linked to the preparation of this dessert. One of these is linked to the shape. There are those who prepare it in the shape of initials of names, who prepare it in the shape of hen or fish (or other Easter subjects) but it is still common that the mother-in-laws prepare it in the shape of heart to give it to their first son in law. It is also said that the mother-in-law prepares the Cuzzupa using a certain number of eggs according to the situation: to put nine eggs would mean renewed engagement, to put seven eggs would mean that the couple is close to the wedding. For this reason, a traditional saying says "Cu 'nova renews, cu' sect s'assetta" - with nine (eggs) is renewed with seven it seats (to prepare for marriage).
It is said that everyone in the family should have his Cuzzupa for easter and that the size of this should be proportional to the age of those who will consume it; a child will have a baby size and a grown-up one much bigger.
So it is the creativity of those who will prepare this dessert to give the desired shape and size using the ingredients that make Cuzzupa that Easter delicacy that is still today.
If you still do not know how to impress your guests for Easter lunch, here's how to prepare this Calabrian wonder.
- 1 kilogram of flour
- 6 eggs (one of which to be left in whole)
- 500 grams of sugar
- 200 milliliters of milk
- 200 milliliters of extra
- virgin olive oil
- 2 bags of yeast
- the grated rind of a lemon
Let's start by working five of the six eggs in a bowl with the sugar and add the lemon peel, oil and milk. We pass the flour through the sieve and add it to the mixture with the yeast. Mix everything until a smooth and homogeneous mixture is obtained. We now shape the dough in the form we want to be careful to keep a small part of it. Now we put the remaining whole egg and "seal it" with one or two strips of dough obtained from the dough kept aside. The Cuzzupa can be decorated with a sugar glaze or with colored tails. Put the Cuzzupa in oven at 180 degrees for half an hour, until it is golden brown.
Enjoy your meal and Happy Easter!
Main picture by Alessandro Tarzia