Have you ever asked yourself what is hidden behind the invention of the historic Neapolitan sweets? Well, let’s follow us in the tale of three Neapolitan desserts.
The babà is really born at court but not in Naples. We are talking about he court of the Polish king, Stanislao Laszczinki, in XVIII. When Stani was dethroned, they gave him how to obey the Duchy of Lorraine. He was not very happy, but he adjusted.
However, Stani needed something sweet every day in order to avoid sadness. But, it wasn’t easy to please him: the chef had to invent something special every time.
But the sweet that was served most often was the kugelhupf, a typical dessert of the area, made with flour, butter, brewer’s yeast, eggs, sugar. Stani didn’t like this sweet, it was too dry for him. So, he used to drink all sorts of liquor with this dessert. One day, the butler once again put under his nose the kugelhupf, he angrily threw the dish on the table which hit the bottle of rhum and knocked it down. In this way, our babà was born. Stani immediately appreciated the new dessert and dedicated his inadvertent creation to Ali Babà, protagonist of “One Thousand and One Nights”.
Soon it became a famous sweet all over France. In Naples it was brought by monzù, chefs who served noble families. And it is in our city that the babà is perfected in form and taste, becoming the king of Neapolitan desserts!
The Sfogliatella, symbol of Naples, was born in a convent in Amalfi. One day, the nun, who was cooking, realized that a bit of semolina cooked in the milk was left over. So, she didn’t want to throw it away and decided to mix it with the lemon liqueur, sugar and dried fruit. Then, she prepared two layers of dought and put this filling in the center. In this way, was born Santarosa: a dessert still appreciate to our day. Anyway, the Santarosa arrived in Naples after over 100 years. In the city, it arrived at the beginning of the 19th century thanks to Pasquale Pintauro. He not only spread Santarosa but perfected it, changing the form. In this way, our Sfogliatella was born, in its “curly” variant.
Each country has its own zuppa inglese. But why does a Neapolitan sweet have in its name this British reference?
During the short period of the Neapolitan Republic in 1799, Admiral Francesco Caracciolo was defeated by Orazio Nelson, commander of British Navy. Therefore, the British returned the throne to King Ferdinand I, who wanted to celebrate giving a party in honor of Nelson. Tradition wants the chef to prepare a sweet with the leftovers of dried biscuits, rhum and custard cream. And, when it was time to serve the dessert, the butler said to the waiter: “Bring this soup to Englishman!”. From this episode the dessert and its name were born.