Venetian Dishes
biscuits, biscuits parpagnacchi, parpagnacchi, thiene, Vicenza, cookies, pastry, baked, baked goods, oven baked, homemade

Parpagnacchi biscuits

  • Portions: 25/27 biscuits
  • Time: 45 mnutes
  • Difficulty: Low
  • Ingredients
  • 500 g of all porpose flour
  • 90 g of cold butter in small pieces
  • a pinch of salt
  • 150 g of sugar
  • About 50 g of milk
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • half a sachet of yeast
  • 18 gr of Grappa or Rum
  • grated zests of an untreated lemon or orange
  • 1 pinch of vanilla
  • Grain sugar and egg white for brushing
After the pandoli and the zaleti, the collection of Venetian biscuits continues.

"I'll measure you a parpagnaco!"
If you hear this phrase, you better run away!
This curious name for biscuits means something like "slap": actually, a bit like "pandoli", it can also mean "stupid".

It is a name that doesn't seem to belong to the Venetian tradition even if in reality a Parpagnacco appears as a character in the "Favola de 'tre gobbi" by Carlo Goldoni: another hypothesis on the nomenclature, says that the origin of the name has to do with the Croatian "prapenjak", a biscuit characterized by the presence of honey and black pepper (even if in reality the "parpagnaco" from Vicenza has neither of the two ingredients!).

These biscuits are typical of the Thiene area, and in particular of Marano where the art of preparing them is jealously guarded and handed down.

We read in the production regulation, approved in 2015 by the municipal council of Marano Vicentino, which recognized the municipal denomination of the "Parpagnacchi of Marano": "It is said that in the early 1900s, Villa Fioretti represented a place of exchange and commerce, among the people. To avoid the payment of the duties imposed by the nearby borders, the first groups of smugglers began to form, which to stock up on raw materials, exercised a real barter, with beans and potatoes that they exchanged for eggs, milk, Marano corn flour, butter and various vegetables. The birth of the "parpagnacchi" derives from a request of a "practical" nature made to the people of Marano by smugglers, who, in order to be able to feed themselves during the journey, asked to prepare a sweet food that could be kept for a long time and that was easy to carry».

The characteristic of this biscuit is the friability despite the little amount of butter, which makes them more conservable, and they are also not very sweet, but this is a character that we find recurrently in other typical Venetian biscuits: their shape makes them fun and easy to make, they are very nice to pack and give as a gift and for their simplicity of flavor they lend themselves to accompanying a cup of latte in the morning but also a good black tea or hot chocolate in the afternoon.

Understanding that in Veneto the tradition of biscuits is not so broad, I like to bring to light this type of preparation so poor in ingredients but delicious and inexpensive.
I'd like to know if you liked them, if you will bake them.

The recipe I used is by Morena Roana from the blog Menta e Cioccolato: you can find it at this link
The historical source is an article in the Giornale di Vicenza.

If you want to make the gluten-free recipe, replace the flour with the same quantity of gluten-free flour for cakes and shortbreads: being crumbly biscuits, they do not need particular elasticity, you will have no problems. You must make sure that all the other ingredients, as well as the top and the utensils where you work, are free of contamination and have the "gluten free" or "crossed ear" symbol.

If you want to make them lactose-free, use a lactose-free butter or if you don't tolerate that either, non-hydrogenated vegetable margarine is fine: plan a longer rest in the refrigerator, at least a couple of hours. A great idea would be to put them back in the fridge for half an hour even after forming them.
First, when you divide the egg to use the yolk in the pastry, keep the egg white in a small bowl because you will need it later.

If you work with the mixer, put the flour, butter and salt in the bowl: work with the "k" or "leaf" hook until a flour is formed: add all the other ingredients and knead well. Remove from the bowl and work briefly by hand to compact: it must be firm but not hard, so if necessary add a drop of milk.
Wrap it in a bag and let it rest for a while in the fridge, so it loses a little nerve.

If you do not have the mixer, proceed as a normal pastry, please follow the steps above.

Turn on the oven so it will reach temperature while you form the parpagnacchi.

Divide the dough and form into rolls, about 25/27 come out, 20-22 cm long: fold them in half, twist them and place them on a baking sheet well spaced (they rise a little!).
Brush each with a little egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake halfway up with a static oven at 170 ° -180 ° for 25-30 minutes.