Transcription of original recipe taken from Opera dell’arte di cucinare by Bartolomeo Scappi (1570)
Per fare morselletti, cioè mostaccioli alla Milanese.
Cap CXLII. Sesto libro folio 420.
Piglinosi quindeci uove fresche, & battanosi in una cazzuola, & passnosi per lo setaccio con due libre & mezza di zuccaro fino fatto in polvere, & mezza oncia di anici crudi, overo pitartamo pesto, & un grano o due di muschio fino, & mettanosi con ese libre due & mezza di farina, & battasi ogni cosa per tre quarti d’hora, di modo che venga la pasta come quella delle frittelle, & lascisi riposare per un quarto d’hora, & ribbattasi un’altra volta, poi si habbiano apparecchiati fogli di carta fatti a lucerne onti, overo tortiere altre di sponde con cialde sotto senza essere bagnate di cosa alcuna, & dapoi mettasi essa pasta dentro le lucerne, o tortiere, & non sia d’altezza piu che la grossezza d’un dito, & subito si spolverizzino di zuccaro, & ponganosi nel forno che sia caldo, overo quelle delle tortiere, cuocanosi come le torte, & come tal pasta sarà sgonfiata, & haverà in tutto persa l’humidità, & sarà alquanto sodetta, cioè sia come una focaccia tenera, cavisi della tortiera o lucerna, & subito si taglino con un coltello largo & sottile, a fette larghe due dita, & lunghe a beneplacito, & rimettanosi nel forno con fogli di carta sotto a biscottarsi, rivoltandoli spesso, però il forno non sia tanto caldo come di sopra, & come saranno bene asciutte, cavinosi, & conservinosi perche sono sempre migliori il secondo giorno che il primo, & durrano un mese nella lor perfettione.
Translated recipe by Louise Smithson (known in the SCA as Mistess Helewyse de Birkestad, OL)
To make little morsels, that is “mostaccioli” in the Milan style
Take fifteen fresh eggs and beat them in a casserole and pass through the sieve with two and a half pounds of sugar fine and powdered, and half an ounce of raw aniseed or partly crushed (aniseed) and a grain or two of fine musk, and put with this two pounds and a half of flour and beat everything for three quarters of an hour, so that it becomes like the pasta for fritters and let it rest for a quarter hour and rebeat it another time. Then one takes a sheet of paper put into a “lucerne” and greased, or a ‘tortiere’ with wafers beneath that have not been bathed in such a way (not greased) and then put this paste into the ‘lucerne’ or ‘tortiere’ (specific pan types) until it is not higher than the thickness of a finger and immediately powder with sugar and put it into the oven that is hot, or the tart pan, and cook it like a tart and when this pasta is cooked (not wet) and will in all lose the humidity and it will be enough cooked, that is like a tender focaccia, pull out the ‘lucerne’ or ‘tortiere’ and immediately cut with a large thin knife, cut in slices as large as two fingers, and as long as one pleases, and put them in the oven with pieces of paper beneath the biscuits, turn them enough, ensure that the oven is not as hot as the one above (second baking is at a lower temp than first), and when they are well dried, pull them out and save them because they are always better the second day than the first and they will keep for a month in their perfection.
N.B. A pound is not a pound the world around during the 16th Century. In Rome, the pound is 12 ounces not 16. So this recipe is 15 eggs, 30 ounces sugar, 30 ounces flour, 1/2 ounce aniseed.
Mistress Helewyse indicated to use a 9×9 pan for doing a 1/3 batch, but I needed to make enough for a vigil so I wanted a 9×13’s worth, so I went for a half-ish batch using 8 eggs.
8 eggs of largish size (from my backyard flock) (15 7/8 oz by volume)
16 oz sugar
16 oz AP flour
1 Tbsp aniseed
- Whisked eggs and added to stand mixer
- Grind the aniseed in a spice grinder
- Added sugar and aniseed to blender and pulsed until superfine
- Added sugar/anise mixture to the stand mixer and stirred to combine
- Slowly added flour until incorporated
- Mixed for 15 minutes in the stand mixer (not the 45 minutes by hand indicated in Scappi) and it looked like smooth and like fritter batter
- Let it sit for 15 minutes
- Mixed for another 15 minutes
- Pour into a greased 9×13 pan (I used a non-stick spray)
- Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes
- Cool bar for 15 minutes
- Cut into 1 inch strips
- Return to oven at 300 F for 30 minutes on each side
What I learned.
- I could have used 7 eggs and 14 ounces each sugar and flour for the 9×13 pan.
- My aniseed needs to be replaced, because it seems little weak.
- I probably need to have the oven at a lower temp and for longer for the second bake. They feel a little softer than I want them, but hopefully they will dry out more overnight. I didn’t to leave them in any longer because they were becoming too brown. They taste fine, but they texture isn’t quite right.