Rocciata, the Strudel of Assisi

Mike and I went to Assisi for the first time in 2010, arriving in time for our morning coffee and pastry. Instead of our usual brioche, we ordered the pastry of Assisi—rocciata. The strudel-like pastry dates back to pre-Roman times. Consisting of apples, dried fruits, and nuts, rocciata is popular year-round, but because it is a little heavy, it’s a perfect winter sweet.

There are many recipes out there; some call for eggs, and some call for Vin Santo, a sweet wine of the area. I prefer the following recipe as it’s simple, not overly sweet, and very easy to make.

Dough
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons sugar
7 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons oil
Pinch of salt

Mix all of the above ingredients to form a soft dough. Knead it until it is smooth, and cover it to let it rest while you prepare the filling.

Apricot jam
1 apple
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c dried fruit (figs, dates, apricots, prunes, etc)
1/4 c almonds
1/4 c walnuts
1/4 c pine nuts
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Peel, core, and dice the apple into small cubes. Roughly chop the dried fruit and nuts. Mix all but the jam in a bowl and set aside.

Roll the dough as thin as possible and spread apricot jam over it. (It’s easier if you heat the jam a little first.) Spread the fruit filling across the middle of the dough making sure to leave a border around the edge. Roll the dough into a tube and seal the ends. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on cooking rack to cool. You can brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle sugar on top or dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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