At this time of year, almost all bakeries in Sicily display martorana fruit, the typical dessert on the day of the feast of the dead.
It is said that the Benedictine nuns of the Martorana Monastery in Palermo invented the recipe, hence the name of martorana fruit. Later, it became the traditional dessert for the day of the dead, which we celebrate in Sicily on November 2.
It was customary for children to receive toys and a basket of martorana fruit on this day. Even today, many families follow this tradition. Actually, November 2 is a joyful day of celebration in Sicily. By receiving gifts and sweets, children are taught to love and respect the souls of the dead.
Today the baker exhibited baskets full of martorana fruit. I asked her to give me the recipe, but she was evasive. She didn’t want to reveal her secret recipe. She just told me that the basic ingredient is almonds, which must be properly crushed. Of course, they must be Sicilian almonds!
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind