Pupa cu l’ova
Spring Equinox marks the end of
winter and the time to prepare for the new season, to care for the lands and to do all necessary planning for
that time of year.
This event was celebrated with the
sacrifice of lambs to the gods to gain their blessings to the land and to the seeds planted in the ground; also
eggs imbedded into bread, were offered to the goddess of fertility to favor for new life to come into their
These traditions go back to the
Vikings in the north of Europe to the
Babylonians, Persians, Armenians, Jews, Germans, Vikings, Greeks and Romans.
In Sicily, miniature lambs, made of marzipan or chocolate
are prepared for this occasion along with chocolate rabbits representing fecundity.
Eggs the pagan symbols of fertility
are now offered to the children on Holy Saturday imbedded into bread, called “pupa cu l’ova”, puppet with eggs.
This tradition is well alive at the present times. The pupa cu l’ova are eaten for breakfast on Easter Sunday
and the following mornings until all puppets with eggs are finished.
There are two ways to make pupa cu
l’ova: one version using bread dough, one version with pasta frolla, Italian shortbread.
BREAD DOUGH PUPPETS
Prepare 2 ½ lb. of bread dough and
follow the preparation directions to follow.
SWEET PASTA FROLLA DOUGH PUPPETS
· 1 lb. all purpose flour. About 5
7 oz. or 1 cup sugar less 2
2 tablespoons of honey
½ lb. or 1 cup unsalted butter (at room
· 2 egg yolks
2 whole large
1/2 teaspoon baking
Pinch of salt
6 drops of
zest of one
1 egg for egg washing, beaten with a tablespoon of
· 1 cup of flour to dust or to add if needed
6 soft boiled
Makes 6 Pupa cu
Eggs must be at room temperature.
Place the eggs in saucepan and cover with cold water; do not add salt. Gently bring the water to a boils. Remove
from the heat and set on the side for 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to place the eggs in a dish until ready to
Make a well with the flour, place in it and combine sugar and butter.
Add eggs, salt, baking powder, honey, and lemon zest. Mix all ingredients with the help of a fork and then
using your hands knead to bring dough together. If mixture is too dry add a few tablespoons of water, if too watery
add some flour.
Do not over mix. Do not handle dough more than necessary. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Prepare pans: grease and dust with flour a cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper.
Cut dough in 2 pieces and each
pieces in 3 parts. Knead dough to make each piece compact and shape into a ball. Take one piece at a time and
divide into 2 pieces. Place 1 piece into a prepared baking sheet, shape into an oval and flatten it: this will
form the body of the puppet. Place 1 egg in the body of the pupa and take a small amount of the reserved dough,
form 2 thin ropes and set on top of the egg and press into the body of the puppet. Use the remaining dough to
form the head, legs and arms; egg wash and use raisins or other dry fruits, nuts, candy, sprinkles to decorate
and make the mouth, eyes, hair etc...
Make other puppets with the other 5
pieces or shape into baskets, braids or other figures.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20
minutes or until cookies are a golden color.