Lecce pasticciotto: the original recipe

As for desserts, which are one of the main characteristics of the gastronomic tradition of Salento, there are different types, but the one that most represents lower Puglia is the Lecce pasticciotto.

The basic ingredients of this dessert are very simple: shortcrust pastry, made strictly with lard, banishing butter and margarine, and custard.

Lecce pasticciotto
Lecce pasticciotto ©sabinoparente via Canva

Origins of the Lecce pasticciotto

Its origin dates back to at least the eighteenth century, one of the most widespread stories is that which associates the birth of pasticciotto with the Ascalone family’s pastry shop in Galatina during the celebrations for San Paolo, a legend which however has no foundation.

There are those who make everything simpler, saying that this dessert is just one of the many variations of the Abruzzo bocconotto, given the similarity, or there are also those who derive it from the Neapolitan pasticciotto, which involves the addition of black cherries.

Where to eat Lecce pasticciotto

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. However, you must be careful not to come across pre-packaged and defrosted products on occasion, otherwise you run the risk of not only being disappointed but also leaving an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Unfortunately, it often happens that to speed up the process, the same technique as for frozen croissants is adopted. Industrial products are bought that do not have any of the typical characteristics of pasticciotto.

In Lecce you can find the Natale patisserie, in Via Trinchese, but good pasticciotti can also be found at Cadorna in Piazza d’Italia. Best known on a tourist level is the Caffè Alvino in Piazza Sant’Oronzo.

Moving into the province, in Galatina there is the aforementioned Ascalone pastry shop, while in Nardò, before selling the business, the best pasticciotto was found in the Egidio pastry shop. For those who want a more refined version of the dessert, in the Malcandrino restaurant in Monteroni, the chef offers a young reinterpretation of the decomposed pasticciotto.

In Masseria Stali, in Caprarica, where Rita and Leo Piccinno’s cuisine is genuine and proposed as homemade, the pasticciotto Leccese is available in a cake version, which is cut and served in slices to diners.
In Gallipoli we note the Caffetteria Martinucci and in San Cataldo the Pasticceria Nobile.

The original recipe for Pasticciotto Leccese:


  • 500 g. made with flour
  • 250 g. of butter
  • 200 g. of sugar
  • 3 egg yolks

For the cream:

  • Half liter of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 g. of sugar
  • 1 sachet of vanillin


  1. To make the shortcrust pastry, combine the butter and flour with your hands. Make a well and place the egg yolks with the sugar in the center, mixing very quickly. Form a ball and wrap it in cling film, keeping it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. For the cream, however, take a bowl and mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla, adding the sifted flour a little at a time. Pour the boiling milk over the mixture and place on the heat, stirring until boiling. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Form 30 cm discs. with the previously rolled shortcrust pastry, fill the bottom of the mould, pour in the cream and cover with the second disc. Remember to close the edge and bake for 20 minutes at 180°.

Variations of pasticciotto

The pasticciotto from Lecce, despite being very simple, over the years has conquered the primacy of Salento pastry making and has been included in the national list of traditional agri-food products. The best way to taste it is to eat it hot, freshly baked. Naturally, numerous variations were then born from the basic recipe: black cherry jam, chocolate cream can be added to the custard and there is also a version with cocoa shortcrust pastry.

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