Torcolo di San Costanzo: the original recipe

On January 29th Perugia celebrates San Costanzo, one of its three patron saints (the others are San Lorenzo and Sant’Ercolano).

On this day the Torcolo di San Costanzo cannot be missing from the tables of Perugia. Born as a poor dessert, prepared with simple and easily available ingredients – bread dough was also used for the basic dough – tradition has it that it had to be given as a good omen to young women of marriageable age.

There are different versions to explain its donut shape: it is said that the hole represents the decapitated neck of the Saint, or that it represents the Saint’s necklace rich in precious stones (hence the candied cedar), which fell off at the moment of decapitation, or that it was created with a hole simply to be able to easily slip it into sticks to transport it to fairs or markets. While the five oblique cuts on the surface represent the access doors to the five districts of the historic center of Perugia: Porta Sole, Porta San Pietro, Porta Susanna, Porta Eburnea and Porta Sant’Angelo.


prodotti tipici umbria

Ingredients for 6 people

600 g of flour
330 g of water
170 g of sugar
170 g of candied citron
85 g of extra virgin olive oil
85 g of butter
170 g of sultanas
170 g of pine nuts
an egg
25 g of brewer’s yeast
anise seeds to taste


Place the flour in a well in a salad bowl, crumble the yeast into it and mix everything with warm water; work the dough (which should have the consistency of bread dough) for a few minutes, place the salad bowl in a warm place, protected from drafts. When the dough has doubled in volume, turn it out onto a pastry board, flatten it lightly with the palm of your hand, add the diced candied citron, raisins, pine nuts, oil, butter, sugar and two spoons to the dough. of aniseed. Knead the dough for about ten minutes, roll it up and place it into a ring in a well-buttered cake tin. Place the cake pan in a warm place away from the air and to facilitate leavening, where the torcolo is left to rise, add a pan of boiling water. After three hours the dough will have risen well. Brown the surface with the egg yolk and lightly cut the dough with a pointed knife. Place the cake tin in a hot oven (180°) for three quarters of an hour.


Accademia Italiana della Cucina di Perugia


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