I’ve been reminiscing a lot these last few weeks, dreaming of our times spent travelling & really missing planning out extensive trips. Naturally, I’m seeking comfort in food, until I can safely plan our next one that is, & this week I finally got around to recreating a delicious treat that we ate far too many of during our time in Puglia, pasticciotto.

Puglia (aka the heel of the Italian boot) is by far one of the most underrated parts of Italy, so untouched that it doesn’t cater for tourism & where they do, English is very rarely heard or spoken, it’s the sort of place we love to visit! It’s places like this that you can truly get lost, immerse yourself in the local culture & most importantly, it’s cuisine.

Pasticciotto Leccese

Wherever you find yourself in Puglia, you’ll be sure to find plenty of pasticciotto in bars, bakeries, markets & even train stations, particularly in the beautifully baroque city of Lecce. Rumour has it that pasticciotto were invented by a Leccese chef as a way to use up leftover scraps of pastry & crema. He named the pastries after the pasticcio “a mess” or “a mishap” & they became ever popular in the region, which is why you will likely not find a town in the province that does not produce or sell pasticciotto.

They’re so simple, yet so delicious, simply made from some sweet pastry (or pasta frolla) encasing a simple pastry cream (crema pasticcera). These are by no means dainty, in fact they’re rather hefty & weighty which is just one more reason why I love them so much! Now you can find them with endless different flavoured fillings, I was particularly fond of both a pistachio & nutella filled variation, however, for my own I’ve kept things simple & traditional as it’s these that I fell in love with as much as Italy itself.

(makes 5)


For the sweet pastry (pasta frolla):

  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 65g butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 egg, for washing

For the pastry cream filling (crema pasticcera):

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 25g cornflour
  • 375ml milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Optional to top:

  • 1 tbsp icing sugar


  • To make the pastry, in a large bowl sift together the flour & icing sugar
  • Add the cubed butter & rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Next, add the egg yolk to the bowl & stir through until the mixture starts to clump together, if it doesn’t start to clump & come together add the water to the bowl & mix again
  • Use your hands to finish bringing the dough together before flattening the dough into a disc, wrap with cling film or a beeswax wrap & chill in the fridge for at least an hour
  • Meanwhile, make the pastry cream
  • Begin by combining the egg yolks & caster sugar in a medium sized saucepan
  • Add the cornflour & beat until combined
  • Next, place the milk into a jug or small saucepan & gently heat it over a low heat on the hob or in the mircowave
  • Now slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture in the saucepan, continually mixing as you slowly maintain a steady stream
  • Once all of the milk has been added, set the pan over a low-medium heat
  • Continue to stir & cook the pastry cream for around 20 minutes, until the mixture thickens & starts to resemble a custard consistency
  • Once thickened, immediately remove from the heat & pour into a wide, clean bowl
  • Cover the top of the pastry cream with a piece of cling film, directly on its surface to avoid it developing a skin & set aside until cool
  • Once everything has chilled, roll out the pastry to approximately 3mm thick
  • Cutting out individual rectangles of pastry at a time, use it to line 5 pasticciotto/friand tins, leaving the excess to hang over the edges
  • Next, add a couple of spoonfulls of the pastry cream inside each of the pastry cases
  • Taking the rest of the pastry & re-rolling any offcuts, cut out another slightly smaller set of rectangles
  • Taking one at a time, gently place the rectangle of pastry over the pastry cream & press together with the overhanging pastry to create a seal
  • Use a sharp knife to now trim off any excess pastry
  • Finally, brush the top of each pasticciotto with the beaten egg & bake in the oven at 180C for 25 minutes, until golden brown
  • Once baked, remove from the oven & allow the pasticciotto to cool in their tins
  • Once cooled, carefully remove & dust with a little icing sugar to serve

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