Signora Rosa lives around the corner from our childhood home. She and her husband Giovanni belonged to a generation who survived the hardships of WWII and the poverty which swept through rural Italy in the post war years. As children, Giovanni would always encourage us to persevere in our studies and pursue our love of music. He would recount the story of how, as a prisoner of war, his life was spared by the Germans because the Commanding Officer at the camp liked the way he played guitar.
Once Giovanni and Rosa’s children had flown the coup, we became their surrogate grand kids. Rosa would often indulge us with all manner of home-made delights, ranging from salted cheesecake (fiadone abruzzese) to sponge cake layered with lemon custard and an amazing fish soup finished with tiny choux croutons . To this day, I still consider her to be the best self-taught cook I know. Although she is now in her nineties, every once-in-a-while, she still drops by for a visit and leaves a neat little packet of home made pizzelle on my mother’s kitchen counter. This is her recipe.
75g caster sugar
35g olive oil
55g plain flour
55g self raising flour
zest of one lemon
Whisk the eggs, sugar, olive oil and zest. Fold in the flour.
Heat the pizella iron. If you are using a manual iron, you will need to keep turning the iron every minute or so, so that the plate heat evenly.
Brush a little olive oil onto the plates, then wipe off excess.
Place a spoonful of the mixture into the middle of the hot plate and press the iron firmly. Allow to cook until golden, approximately 30 seconds, depending on the heat of the plates.
Carefully remove the pizzella from the plates. Repeat the process with the remaining mixture.