I have decided on giving blogging another shot.
And what better than to restart with a Christmas recipe!
What we have here is a Frustingo. A VERY traditional Christmas fruit cake from Le Marche. But I recently found out, talking to my boyfriend from Ancona (which is Central Marche), that Frustingo is unique to Southern Marche, mainly in the province of Macerata, Fermo, and Ascoli Piceno.
It's a somewhat gooey dessert made from dried fruit, nuts, and liqueur. It's easy to make (although the dough needs to rest a few hours), has no added sugar, and lasts very well. What more can you ask for during this busy Christmas season!
Frustingo is one of the oldest desserts from Marche that dates back to the Piceni or Etruscans. The recipe has evolved over time, and in modern days, liqueur, coffee, and cacao are added.
The name, Frustingo, derives from the Latin word frustum, which means "piece" or "chunk". In fact, when you cut the cake, you don't want slices, but instead, bite sizes. Mind you, Frustingo is extremely rich. You want to start off with little chunks (which you will end up eating lots of).
Frustingo consists mainly of dried figs. But apart from this, the recipe varies from family to family. This is the recipe from my ex suocera (meaning "ex-mother-in-law" although I was never married, she was really like a mother to me!) that I tweaked to my liking. I see many put chocolate, others go heavy on the spices (even putting black pepper is quite common), so just to remind you that this is how I like it. There is no right or wrong here. So feel free to switch up the recipe to your liking!
Last but not least, the Mamme Marchigiane will prepare batches of these to give out to friends and neighbors. When doing so, they bake it in an aluminum foil tray. No need to go fancy on the wrapping. This homey touch is what will make your Frustingo more authentic, in my opinion!
Prep Time: 5 hours (including baking and chilling time)
Portion: 22cm round baking tin + 5 mini aluminium tin foils (8cm)
P.S. Don't forget to pair it with some dessert wine! The most traditional combo is with Vino Cotto. Which is cooked grape must that is later fermented.
I paired it with a Passito from Cantina dei Colli Ripani. Passito is a sweet wine (I wouldn't say luscious, but very sweet) made from dried grapes. This one here in the photo is made from Passerina (a native white grape variety of Marche) and goes through double drying. First directly on the vine, then once picked in the cellar as well. It pairs well with this extra sweet Frustingo. These two will put you in the holiday spirit for sure. Plus, the winery makes cool merch too! Like this FRSTNG (it's not Frosting, but Frustingo!) sweatshirt :)
Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful holiday season.