Italian Christmas cake from Brescia

Italian Christmas cake from Brescia

While looking for Italian Christmas cuisine today, I stumbled across the traditional Italian Christmas cake from Brescia. No, this is not panettone. The Christmas cake we are presenting here comes from Lombardy and is a specialty of the region. It only exists there. The city of Brescia and its province are known for their pastry specialties. In the restaurant guide Gambero Rosso for the delicacies "Pasticceri & Pasticcerie 2021" they won prizes for it.

Italian Christmas cake from Brescia

You need patience to bake this traditional Italian Christmas cake. Flour, sugar, butter, eggs and yeast are the ingredients that it takes to make this cake. The secret lies in the preparation. The Bossolà requires leisure and a helping of passion. Because before the mold is pushed into the oven, it is necessary to make yeast dough - with more and fewer eggs and with resting time that varies from dough to dough. Italian Christmas cuisine requires time and leisure. Perseverance is required to join the dough step by step. A quarter hour! long two doughs should be kneaded into a mass. Did everything right once
the effort is rewarded with a result that is difficult to resist. At the end of the day there is a pot cake on the table that tempts you to indulge.

Dust the splendor with powdered sugar and the Italian Christmas cake that is so popular in Brescia at Christmas time is ready.

Homemade or fetched from the confectioner, the Bossolà is a souvenir, a gift that is given to hosts. Sweet mouths are already enjoying the Christmas cake for breakfast. Classically, however, it is eaten as a dessert after a meal. Goes well with a passito, a fortified wine made from grapes.


The Italian Christmas cake Bossolà comes from Brescia
The Italian Christmas cake Bossolà comes from Brescia (c) Photo: Roberto Maggioni

Lucky cakes and pies

The recipe for the Italian Christmas cake Bossolà may have come to Brescia from the Republic of Venice a long time ago. It is also conceivable that this baking tradition goes back to an even more distant past. The origin of the Bossolà can no longer really be traced. But the fact is that this pot cake has a place in the legends that people told themselves in the Valli Bresciane - the mountain valleys of the province of Brescia. The Bossolà - a symbol of luck and hope. It is also certain that the professional bakeries in the city and the province of Brescia dedicate themselves to this specialty from the All Saints holiday at the end of October until well into January.

Iginio Massari is considered the grand master not only of the cake specialty, but of the art of confectionery in general. The Brescian has already won more than 300 national and international competitions of his guild with his sweet creations.

With his Pasticceria Veneto, which he has been running since 1971, the now 79-year-old has only just achieved the highest honors again. In its edition “Pasticceri & Pasticcerie 2021”, the restaurant guide Gambero Rosso Massaris confectionery ennobled with “Three cakes in gold”.

Recipe for the Italian Christmas cake from Brescia

Ingredients for Bossolà di Brescia according to the recipe by Iginio Massari (14 servings)

Dough 1

Flour 135 g
Sugar 40 g
Butter 40g
Yeast (fresh) 40 g
1 egg

Dough 2

Flour 260 g
Sugar 50 g
Butter 50g
2 eggs

Dough 3

Flour 500 g
Sugar 150 g
Butter 145g
Salt (7 grams)
Vanilla sugar (5 grams)
6 eggs


Dough 1

Pile flour on the work surface and form a well. Crumble the yeast and dissolve it in lukewarm water. You pour the yeast solution into the well and add the butter, egg and sugar. Then mix the ingredients together and knead the dough until it is elastic. Shape a ball and put it in a bowl. Cover this with a tea towel and let the dough rest in a warm place for about 1 hour.

Dough 2

Mix the flour and sugar and pile them up. Put butter and eggs in a well and mix well. Then mix dough 1 (after it has risen well in one hour of resting time) with dough 2. Knead the mixture for a quarter of an hour and form a ball. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 2-3 hours until this dough has risen well.

Dough 3

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla sugar together, pile them up, and add eggs and butter. Then you work everything into a dough for a few minutes. Then add dough 2 (after it has risen for 2-3 hours) to dough 3 and knead everything for a quarter of an hour. Put this dough in a greased dish and let it rest in a warm place for another 30 minutes, covered. Then bake it for 40-50 minutes in the oven that you have preheated to 190 °.

Finally, let the Bossolà cool down and dust it with powdered sugar. Then you can pack it up and give it away - or eat it yourself. Enjoy the Christmas cuisine from Italy at home with this recipe for the traditional Italian Christmas cake from Brescia.



Pastry specialties from the province of Brescia
Pastry specialties from the province of Brescia (c) Photo Roberto Maggioni

Patisserie in the province too

With his awards, the super baker Iginio Massari from Brescia leads the ranking in Italy. The jury found that his success made art from Italy known all over the world like no other pastry chef. The Bossolà offers Massari - in addition to yeast dough delicacies such as panettone and Pandoro Tradizionale - in its pastry shop not only in winter. At least he sees no reason why people shouldn't treat themselves to something so good at every season, says the master pastry chef. Many of his customers apparently see it the same way. He has Christmas cuisine from Italy all year round.

Other pastry chefs in and around the city of 200 people also received awards. Ten pastry shops in the province of Brescia can currently decorate themselves with “Two Cakes” - Bedussi, Garzoni, Piccinelli and San Carlo in Brescia, Sirani in Bagnolo Mella, FN Nazzari in Iseo on Lake Iseo, Chantilly in Lumezzane, Creazioni and Di Novo in Manerba as well Andreoletti in Offlaga. L'Elite in Cologne also entered the list of the best with “a cake”. If you are planning a trip to the city or region on Lake Garda in the near future, it is worth visiting at least one of these pastry shops.

The Garda province of Brescia is also proud of the crown for Federica D'Alpaos. D'Alpaos, patisserie chef at Hotel Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera, has made it to a top position in the ranking of kitchen pastry chefs.


Traditional Italian Christmas cake
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Source of Italian Christmas cakes: Visit Brescia

Text of Italian Christmas cakes: (c) Copyright Monika Fuchs
Photos of traditional Italian Christmas cakes: (c) Copyright Visit Brescia and Roberto Maggioni

Italian Christmas cake from Brescia
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