Originating from Reggio Calabria, Petrali are crescent-shaped shortbread biscuits filled with dried fruit that are prepared throughout the month of December, which are enjoyed especially during the Christmas period. There are varieties that contain hazelnut cream filling or chocolate covering.
A long preparation
Petrali have a rather complex preparation and, above all, a long one: the mixture used for its filling must sit for at least three days. Traditionally, homemakers prepared them with typical fruits from the winter season, including figs, almonds, raisins, walnuts, citrus fruit peel, honey, cooked wine, and coffee.
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The nature of the ingredients in its filling testifies to the Arab influences also in the gastronomic culture in the Calabrian territory.
A recipe with uncertain origins
The origin of these luscious sweets is uncertain, but it is said that their creation is due to a priest and his housekeeper: hence the name. Like so many dishes from the poor food tradition, even these desserts are the result of the remnants of the dessert pantry, often preserved throughout the year.