A biscuit as a gesture of love: the history of bussolà

In the Venetian area among the typical confectionery products there are certainly the bussolà of Burano, also called bussolà buranelli or buranei. Attention, bussolà, strictly with the emphasis on A! It is a simple but very nutritionally rich biscuit thanks to the presence of butter and eggs. The origin of these biscuits goes back to the times of the Republic of Venice, when they were lovingly prepared by the wives of fishermen and sailors forced to stay long periods at sea: with the importance of the ingredients contained in the dough and a good durability in terms of conservation, this conspicuous dose of calories became a real source and reserve of energy.

A circle or an S: the bussolà yesterday and today

Originally these biscuits were shaped like a circle, or a donut; in fact their name derives from the dialectal term busà, which means its own hole.

Today, however, it is easier to find these biscuits in the shape of an S, because a few centuries later from their birth, a Buranese baker, to whom the bussolà had been commissioned, gave them the new shape because he had thought that this way it would have been easier to mogiarli (to soak them) in milk: unknowingly it opened the way for the use of the biscuit also for breakfast.

From Easter cake to scent linen: the tradition

According to tradition, the bussolà are typical Easter sweets even though today it is easy to find them all year round, since the Buranese housewives, during Holy Week, used to mix large quantities of biscuits and then go to the bakers for the their cooking. The biscuits were so preserved in the highboards of the colorful houses of Burano for a long time, and their perfume, given by the presence of butter, vanilla and lemon, invaded the calluses making the air pleasantly sugary. Such was the scent that women also had the habit of collecting them in cotton bags and using them to perfume the linens of their closets: do not be surprised if in some chest of a grandmother you could find crumbly and fragrant cookies!

Easter is near, let's make bussolà!

Ingredients for about 40 biscuits:

  • 250 grams of 00 flour
  • 100 grams of soft butter
  • 125 grams of sugar
  • 3 eggs yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • grated lemon rind
  • a pinch of salt

Procedure: work the butter in a bowl to make it soft. Whip the sugar with the eggs until you get a homogeneous mixture. Then add the butter, the seeds of a vanilla bean and the grated rind of an untreated lemon. Also add a generous pinch of fine salt. Finally add the flour.

Quickly knead the dough, but not too much so as not to excessively heat the butter.

Wrap the dough in a cloth and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. After this time, obtain as many cylinders of about 10-15 cm and give them the shape of a circle or an S.

Cook in a static oven preheated to 170 ° for about 15 min. After this cooking time, take them out of the oven to prevent the heat of the oven from drying them excessively, compromising the friability of the biscuit.

I recommend, after having baked them, don't forget to perfume the wardrobe too!

maybe you don't know that:

to ensure that the biscuits during cooking retain the shape you gave them, leave them 15 minutes in the freezer and cook them from frozen. This way they will keep their shape perfectly!