Resca, the typical Easter cake from Como
When it comes to Easter sweets the first thought always goes to the dove. However, there are many regional recipes that are less known but no less good. Among these we find the resca, a Easter cake typical of the city of Como in Lombardy. Wanting to describe it, we could compare it to one loaf enriched with raisins and candied fruit. In reality there is much more behind the preparation of this dessert, such as its history which has its roots in the early nineteenth century. So let’s go to the discovery of this recipe.
Origins and history of sweet Resca
Usually served at Easter and difficult to find outside the borders of this province, the herd, also known as subtraction, is a typical dessert of Como. It has its roots in the distant 1800s and, as often happens, arises from an error. It was committed by an innkeeper named Michele, owner of a small inn. He used to prepare, on the occasion of his name day, a dessert to serve to your guests. This was nothing more than a loaf enriched with candied fruit and raisins. However, an excessive dose of yeast was added to the dough and it began to grow without stopping. To prevent it from spilling out of the container, the innkeeper took the first thing that came his way, a olive branch, and pressed it onto the dough. The twig remained in the loaf and its shape was further emphasized by cuts made with a knife.
Once the bread was cooked, the innkeeper exclaimed By the resca of a pèss! that is, it looks like a fishbone. Hence the name of the dessert which derives from the Latin term aristaused to indicate both the fishbone and the ear (or remains) of wheat.
You will have to arm yourself with a little patience if you decide to prepare the Como fish. The dough indeed requires three different leavenings. Furthermore, even if not essential for success, the olive branch is strongly recommended.
Symbol of the city overlooking the homonymous lake, the resca is usually tasted on the occasion of the Palm Sundaythanks to the shape that recalls the olive tree, a symbol of rebirth.
- 300 g of Manitoba flour
- 100 g of sugar
- 150 g of butter
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 3 eggs
- 90 g of raisins
- 90 g of mixed candied fruit
- 1 organic lemon
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 sprig of olive tree
- 1 sachet of yeast (or 25 g of fresh yeast)
How to prepare dessert
In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in 30 ml of water then add 75 g of flour taken from the total. Knead until you get a smooth dough and put it to rise for an hour in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
Then transfer the yeast into a larger bowl and start adding the other ingredients: flour, sugar, melted butter and honey, mixing with a wooden spoon.
Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, and finally the grated lemon zest and salt. Finish working the dough on the pastry board giving it the shape of a ball then let it rise in the oven off with the light on for an hour.
At this point all that remains is to incorporate the raisins soaked in water and well squeezed and the diced candied fruit. Form an elongated loaf, thread it with the olive branch so that it goes from side to side and, after another hour of leavening, score the surface so as to obtain the characteristic design. Bake in a hot oven at 180°C for 40 minutes. Serve it after it has cooled down.
Even if the preparation of the Resca takes some time, the result is a leavened sweet bread that is worth trying and is perfect if you are looking for a different Easter cake.
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