What is a farrata, you may ask? It’s a type of rustico, a savory pastry and this one is eaten only at Carnevale time. The farrata is apparently native to Manfredonia, and is called such because it is full of farro, spelt (what is spelt?).
Maybe some of you are deep in your quaresima, lent, and Carnevale is just a far-off memory. Do you remember how much I talked about Carnevale? Well, I had quite a bit to share, but I had to cut myself off at some point.
But I couldn’t let the farrata get away.
The farrata is a rustico filled with few ingredients – ricotta, spelt, and some spices. I think the most interesting part about a farrata are the grains of spelt which really add an interesting texture (and appearance). Also, depending on how it’s made, the cinnamon and marjoram may add a slightly sweet taste but it’s mainly savory.
You can actually hear the traditional call of the farrata seller in this mp3 (thanks, Manfredoniano) or see a picture of the “Largest Farrata in the World” for now. Maybe next year, it’ll be an international competition.
The Farrata Mobile (my naming) is always a good indication of what time of year it is, and it goes in the different neighborhoods announcing its wares (much like Shelley’s arrotino). This vehicle appears to be a farrata/oven combo and conveniently has a speaker system built in. This vehicle is such a part of Carnevale that it precedes the Carnevale parades at Manfredonia, much to the relief of spectators (myself included) as it’s usually filled with hot farrata.
The day we sat waiting for several hours for the parade to arrive, we sent a friend running after the car to bring back a bunch of fresh, hot farrata. Parade food! Luckily, the farrata doesn’t call on you to overdose on it like other holiday treats (remember the hazelnut chocolate balls?) but it does have a certain appeal.
Want to make a farrata at home? The recipe is relatively simple, though it seems there are sides being taken when it comes to adding the cinnamon or not. I mashed two recipes from the official Manfredonia Carnevale site, Carnevale Dauno and here.
Spelt grains, cooked
Puff pastry or use your favorite savoury pasta dough (doesn’t have to be puffed)
Fresh ricotta (sheep)
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Marjoram, chopped
Egg yolks, 1-2
Mix the grains, ricotta, marjoram, salt & pepper and cinnamon evenly and let sit for 30 minutes to let the spices infuse the cheese. In the meantime, prepare your pasta dough or roll out the puff pastry. Cut two identical rounds of pastry (perhaps using a glass) and spoon two spoons of the mixture onto the bottom round. Place the second round on top and close the two layers using your index and forefinger (notice the pretty closures above in the photos). Brush some of the egg yolk on top of the mound and pierce it with a fork for ventilation. Cook the farrata at 180�C for 25-30 minutes.
It’s recommended that you cook this in a wood oven, but isn’t everything?