The Easter season brings a time of reflection, celebration, and new beginnings. For the past 5 years i have hosted my family for Easter dinner all while keeping on the old traditions and creating some new ones. One of the most important part of our meal is the cooked lamb however, i prefer the sweeter version of the marzipan lamb or “Pecorelle di Pasqua”. Lambs represent purity, sacrifice, and symbolize Jesus Christ (the "lamb of God") As such, the Easter sweet often comes with a flag bearing the sign of the cross, a symbol of victory over death.
But why marzipan?
Almonds come into season in October, and provide a highly nutritious, high-calorie food with a long shelf-life to see you through the winter. But in May in Sicily there’s a sudden abundance of fresh fruit that feels like nature going into frenzy. Nature comes back to life and nobody needs boring old nuts any more. So why not use them up with a celebration of Easter? It feels like a celebration of spring ending winter anyway, with its emphasis on resurrection.
This year I actually helped my nonna make her beautiful Pecorelle di Pasqua so I could learn the process and it was actually a lot easier than I thought. She started by melting sugar over ow heat, then added in the almond flour and some water. Mixed it together and we had marzipan or almond paste or “Martorana” like we call it in Sicilian. The fun part was molding the paste which we used nonnas 50 year old molds, made of plaster, that she brought from Sicily. We had to let them dry overnight so she could add the finishing touches and bring these sweet creatures to life! although it's perfect little body looks too good to eat, sometimes you just have to say a prayer and dig in! Buona Pasqua