In Italian, the word pizza is traditionally a catchall term for pie, and Ebraica or “Hebraic” denotes the dish’s Jewish roots. The cookies, which are bound with sweet wine, are made by home cooks and can also be found at Pasticceria il Boccione, a tiny kosher bakery that has operated in Rome’s Jewish ghetto for more than two hundred years. Boccione’s version uses chopped candied citron and glacé cherries, so swap some in for the raisins and dried cherries in this recipe, if desired.
This ancient Italian Jewish “pizza” isn’t a pizza at all, but rather a bar cookie densely studded with dried fruit and nuts.
- ½ cup (70 g) golden raisins (sultanas or regular raisins)
- ⅓ cup (45 g) dried cherries
- ½ cup (120 ml/4 gl oz) sweet red wine vinegar or grape juice
- ⅔ cup (150 ml/5 gl oz) vegetable oi
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2½ cups (350 g) all-purpose (plain) flour, plus more for kneading
- ½ cup (70 g) unsalted roasted almonds
- ⅓ cup (45 g) pine nuts
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, combine the golden raisins (sultanas), cherries, and wine and let sit for 10 minutes. Reserving the wine, drain the dried fruit.
3. In a stand mixer (or using a handheld electric mixer and a large bowl), beat together the oil, sugar, vanilla, and salt at medium speed until well combined, 2–3 minutes. Add half of the flour and beat on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until incorporated. Beat in ¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) of the reserved wine, followed by the remaining flour and beat until a firm but pliable dough comes together. If the dough looks dry or crumbly, beat in a little more of the wine, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached - do not let the dough get too wet. Add the raisins, cherries, almonds, and pine nuts and beat at low speed until combined.
4. Turn the dough out onto a flat, lightly floured surface and knead with your hands several times to make sure the fruit and nuts are fully incorporated. Pat the dough into a large rectangle 1.25 cm (½ inch) thick. Using a sharp knife, cut into rectangular or square pieces, then use a spatula to transfer them to the prepared baking sheets.
5. Bake, rotating the pans front to back halfway through, until browned, 20–25 minutes. (They might still feel a bit soft but will firm up as they cool.) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
The Jewish Cookbook by Leah Koenig (Phaidon $65, hbk). Photography by Evan Sung.