Salento Cupeta: the recipe

Salento Cupeta is an almond brittle of Arab origin, passed into Italy via Sicily with its famous dessert “cubaita” which in turn takes its name from the Arabic dessert “qubbaita“, both desserts very similar to our recipe today. With the new season, there will be plenty of festivals and street parties which cannot miss the scent of toasted almonds and sugar, expertly whipped by the itinerant cupetari. In their shiny mobile shops, the artisans of the cupeta, prepare this very crunchy dessert with the equipment of the past before everyone’s eyes.

The moment in which the amber cupeta at the right point is poured onto the marble is truly magical, it is precisely there that all the mastery of these artisans is expressed. With their skilled hands they stretch out the mixture, with slow and graceful movements before moving on to cutting and selling it. In short, where there’s cupeta, there’s a sense of celebration!

Salento cupeta
Salento cupeta ©margouillatphotos via Canva

How to prepare Salento Cupeta

Ingredients (for 10 servings):

  • 500 g of almonds
  • 350 g of sugar
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 whole untreated lemon (and/or an orange)
  • 1 sachet of vanillin
  • water to taste


  1. Immerse the almonds in boiling water for a few minutes.
  2. Let it cool a little and remove the peel. The skin will come off without any problem; just lightly pinch the almonds. Rinse them well with cold water to remove any impurities and dry them.
  3. Coarsely chop a small part (about a quarter) of the almonds with a knife and leave the others whole;
  4. Place in the oven and lightly toast the almonds (in a preheated oven for 5 minutes at 180°). Once baked, the almonds will therefore be very dry without being toasted.
  5. In the meantime, prepare a baking tray by moistening the bottom with olive oil.
  6. Lay out a sheet of baking paper and brush it with olive oil.
  7. Grate the peel of a lemon (and/or orange), it will flavor the cupeta even more.
  8. Pour the sugar and vanilla into a thick-bottomed pan, adding the juice of half a lemon and a spoonful of water.
  9. Melt the sugar over low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. However, consider 15 to 20 minutes of cooking.
  10. As soon as the sugar begins to brown (it must reach a golden to amber color, never too dark!!!) and takes on the consistency of olive oil, the caramel is ready. Here are some photos to show you the progress of cooking the caramel.
  11. When the sugar is golden and starts to make small bubbles, add the almonds (always stirring) and turn off the heat
  12. Quickly pour the mixture onto the baking paper (be careful! Don’t burn yourself, the mixture will be hot – around 140°!!
  13. Give the brittle the shape you want (in theory, level the mixture to 1/2 cm thick) using a stainless steel spatula or similar;
  14. Let it cool (half an hour – an hour) and cut into squares or diamonds while it is still warm. We honestly prefer to cut it roughly with our fingers;
  15. Let the mixture cool completely before serving (about 4 hours)! Cupeta should be stored in a cool, dry place (in summer, better in the fridge). Share the Salento cupeta recipe with your friends and/or relatives!
pasticciotto leccese ©sabinoparente via Canva
Lecce pasticciotto: the original recipe

From Lecce downwards, the breakfast ritual includes coffee and pasticciotto. Numerous pastry shops have become famous thanks to this dessert and there are many addresses where you can taste it.

Pastarelle pugliesi
Apulian Pastarelle: the recipe for dairy biscuits

Apulian pastarelle are typical milk or tea biscuits, easy and quick to prepare, made with simple and genuine ingredients

caffè leccese ©Neyya via Canva
Lecce coffee

In addition to the famous Neapolitan coffee, Lecce coffee also has its fame and anyone who visits Salento will almost certainly taste this tasty coffee with almond milk.