Carnival in Castelbuono means many things, dancing, mockery, good food, and it's one of those things in particular that we want to talk to you about today. We couldn’t think of a better occasion to celebrate one of Castelbuono’s most famous desserts: the Turkish Head.
The Turkish Head is among Castelbuono’s most beloved desserts, to the point where each family here probably has its own personalised variant of the traditional recipe. Its origin goes however well beyond the borders of our little town and is related to Sicily’s domination history.
According to legend, the birth of this dessert and its “quirky” name dates centuries back, specifically at the time the Turks (or actually the Arabs) were defeated by the Normans and chased away from the island.
Such a ... how should we put it? Delectable occasion, should of course be celebrated everywhere with all honours. Even better, with a good amount of mockery and ridicule at the expenses of the defeated, who were quite literally eaten in one big bite. There you have it, the name - Turkish Head - and the fact that it’s made around Carnival, which is - at least in Italy - the time when all mockeries are celebrated.
Even though the tradition wasn’t born in Castelbuono then, the success this dessert has encountered over the years is definitely all ours: today the Turkish Head is in fact considered Castelbuono’s most typical dessert and is much appreciated among the local population.
If we rule out a few other variants that can be still found in the island (one example might be the Turkish Head of Scicli which is however quite different, being made of a sort of cream puff), the fame of the Turkish Head is nowadays mostly connected to Castelbuono and the dessert became so famous that you can actually taste it all year round, not just on Carnival.
The ingredients are few and simple, full of tradition and memory, appealing to the tongue and beyond: from the fried thin puff pastry (scorcia in Sicilian) to the milk cream, flavoured with cinnamon and lemon. Puff pastry and cream are arranged in layers, according to the old custom - mostly forgotten now - of reproducing the shape of the Arabic turban. The dessert is finally covered in cinnamon or - in alternative - cocoa powder, chocolate chips or mini sugar balls.
Whether you’re locals of visitors, whether it’s Carnival or any other time of the year, you shouldn’t miss the chance to try this delicious dessert: it’s not everyday that you can say you had a bite of some “Turkish Heads”, right?
|The inspiration for this “tour” comes from an original Sicilian project called Sikuleat. Sikuleat is a board game that - through strategies, trades and commercial exchanges - takes you into a journey at the heart of Sicilian history and culinary tradition. A funny and entertaining way of learning about Sicily itself. If you wish to know more, you can check our product page on Sikuleat.|
Photo source: Pasticci e pasticcini di Mimma e Fornelli di Sicilia