Breakfast biscuits

Tortelli di Marmellata

In Emilia Romagna these delicious sweet versions of stuffed pasta are traditionally made and eaten at carnival time. You can buy them ready-made during the weeks before Lent in good pastry shops throughout the region, where people on their way to work stop for breakfast, dunking tortelli in huge bowls of foamy, milky coffee.


  • 1 lb2 oz (475 g) plain white flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 9 oz (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 oz (150 g) butter, softened and cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 tablespoons liqueur such as Strega or Galliano (optional)
  • about 6 tablespoons white wine or cold water
  • 1 lb (450 g) thick cherry or apricot or peach jam
  • 6 tablespoons icing sugar for dusting


Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C).

Put the flour on to a board or clean work-surface. Make a hole in the centre with your fist and put in the lemon rind, sugar, vanilla and baking powder. Mix all these ingredients together with your hands. Shape back into a hill shape, make another hole in the centre with your fist and break the eggs into the hole. Add the butter and the liqueur (if using). Knead all this together thoroughly with your hands. Alternatively, prepare the dough in a food processor. If the mixture appears too dry and stiff, add a little wine or water.

Roll out the dough on a floured board or work-surface to a thickness of ¼ inch (5 mm). Arrange teaspoons of jam on half the rolled-out dough at a distance of 2 inches (5 cm) from each other. Fold the rolled-out dough without jam on it over the dough with the jam on it and press down around each covered mound of jam with your fingertips. Do this very carefully, otherwise the jam will ooze out during cooking. Cut round each mound of jam with an upturned glass or pastry cutter. Butter 2 baking sheets and dust with flour. Arrange the jam puffs on the baking sheets in neat rows about inches (4 cm) apart. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden-brown. Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar before serving.