This Neapolitan migliaccio recipe is the first recipe that I write in English from scratch.
Lockdown for COVID-19 in Italy has just ended, although with many restrictions. During this period it was pretty hard for me to keep posting recipes for different reasons.
Instead of letting myself go by binge-watching series on Netflix I decided to do something I always wanted to do but never really committed to: translating my blog into English.
I am aware that translating is not the same thing as writing directly in a language. So let’s see how this goes.
As a first recipe I though it would have been nice to post a traditional Italian recipe: the Neapolitan migliaccio. This recipe in particular belongs to my Instagram friend from Naples @hildeesposito. Hilde was kind enough to allow me to post her recipe here.
From her original recipe I only reduced the amount of sugar from 250 g (8.8 oz) to 210g (7.4 oz).
My pastry making is quite low on sugar, mainly because with less sugar the flavors tend to come out more. But of course you can adjust according to your taste.
A bit of history
The Migliaccio is a cake of the rural tradition and it is connected to the Carnival period. The recipe dates all the back to the medieval times and it was originally made of millet flour (millet = miglio in Italian) and pig’s blood.
In fact it was during that time of the that the pigs were slaughtered and due to the meagre conditions of rural life peasants used to squeeze everything out of the animal.
But the Catholic Church was regarding this as a pagan custom so it started to oppose the use of pig’s blood. Slowly but surely the custom changed and around 1700 the new recipe took form.
Nowadays we use sugar, eggs, ricotta, lemon and other flavors. And semolina took the place of millet flour. In fact if you search the interwebz you will find this under semolina and ricotta cake.
I don’t know what it is with Naples but there is something magic in the air. Something I cannot find anywhere else. Naples for me is a disorderly yet magically organized chaos. I love it. And that’s why I need to go at least once a year.
Italy is a beautiful country, so diverse from North to South. This is also reflected in different types of cuisine. And they’re all outstanding!
Naples is the city of street food and everything is carbo-licious. But they also have a very strong tradition in pastry making. For example the “sfogliatella” is a classic example of Neapolitan awesomeness: a pastry made of flaky and crunchy layers, filled with a cream made of semolina, ricotta and citrus fruit flavors.
The filling directly recalls the migliaccio. Among the flavors that are usually in the recipe there is Millefiori extract, an aroma typical of many Neapolitan pastries. If you have trouble finding this ingredient you can add cinnamon, anise or even a liquor such as “limoncello”.
It would be awesome if you decide to give it a try . Please drop a comment here or tag me on Instagram, I’ll be thrilled to see your creation.
- 500 g milk 17.6 oz
- 500 g water 17.6 oz
- 40 g butter 1.4 oz
- pinch of salt
- 200 g semolina, durum wheat 7 oz
- lemon rind 1 lemon
- orange rind 1 orange
- tip of a tsp of powdered vanilla bourbon or vanillin or vanilla extract
- 350 g ricotta cheese 12.3 oz
- 4 eggs
- 210 g sugar* 7.4 oz
- 1 tbsp millefiori extract**
- Put the milk, water and the rinds of lemon and orange in a pot on medium heat. Add the butter and bring to boil.
- Filter everything through a strainer to remove the rinds and put back in the pot. Lower the heat to the minimum.
- Start adding a small amount of semolina while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Keep adding the semolina and stir until it thickens.
- Should the mixture form lumps you can use an immersion blender to remove them.
- Transfer the mixture in another container and stir vigorously. Let if cool before adding it to the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl put the eggs, the sugar, the vanilla and whatever aroma you decide to use (see the notes at the bottom). Beat with the handheld mixer until the mixture is fluffy and light in color. It should take about 3 minutes.
- Preheat the oven at 200° C (392° F).
- Sift the ricotta and add it to the rest of the egg and sugar mixture. Incorporate using the handheld mixer. Also add the cooled down semolina and work with the blender.
- Line the bottom of a 24 cm (9 in) springform pan with parchment paper. Cut a strip of parchement paper to line the inside of the pan (greasing the inside will help the strip better stick).
- Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake at 200° C (392° F) for 45 minutes.
- Lower the temperature at 180° C (355° F) for another 15 minutes.
- Check the cake after the first 45 minutes. Should the top be too golden cover the pan with aluminum foil.
- Let the Migliaccio cool off and transfer in the fridge for 3 hours. Best if left to settle overnight.
** If Millefiori extract is difficult to find other aromas can be used instead, such as cinnamon, anise or a liquor.