According to legend, it was November 11, a cold and dreary day, when Martin, galloping towards the city on his steed, met a staggering and cold old man, dressed in a few rags. Unfortunately, Martin had neither money nor food with him. So, he took off his cloak and cut him in half with his sword, giving part of it to the old man. Then he greeted him and went back on his journey. Shortly afterwards the clouds thinned and the sun shone again. Even today the beautiful days of November are still called “the Summer of St. Martin” in honor of that charitable gesture.
On the feast of the saint, the traditional “Dolce San Martino” is prepared in Venice. The cake represents St. Martin on horseback holding his sword and wearing a cloak. It consists of a large shortbread cookie garnished with colored icing and embellished with sweets and chocolates. On this day children walk around the Venetian streets and squares making a lot of noise with pots, pans and cowbells, asking for some change or candy from passers-by and shopkeepers, singing nice Venetian nursery rhymes. With the money earned in this way, children can buy the traditional St. Martin’s cake in the many bakeries and pastry shops in the city.
Nowadays, many parents buy the cake for their children in the store, but some still do it at home. To prepare this cake you need a special mold. You can find it on the internet or you can make it yourself, by drawing St. Martin on horseback on a sheet of baking paper. Here is Patty’s recipe.
Ingredients for pastry: 300 gr flour, 100 gr butter, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 6 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 pinch baking soda
Ingredients for icing: 1 egg white, 80 g icing sugar, food coloring
Decorations: chocolates and sweets
We proceed to the preparation of the pastry. Pour the ingredients into a bowl and work them until a sandy dough is obtained. Continuing to work, the dough becomes a compact ball. Take it out of the bowl, compact it and cover it with transparent film, keep it in the fridge for 30 or 60 minutes. After the resting time, sprinkle the pastry board with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin about half a centimeter thick. Place the mold on the rolled-out dough and cut out the edges with a small knife. Place it on a sheet of baking paper, cook it for about 15-20 minutes in the oven already hot at 180°, however until golden brown. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely. Now the icing. Pour the egg white into a bowl and whip it until stiff, add the icing sugar. Mix well until the icing is smooth and shiny. Add the food coloring to taste. Pour the icing into a pastry bag and decorate the St. Martin cake. A variation is a chocolate coating. To finish, add chocolates, sugared almonds, candies and various sweets.
Schedule: November 11, 2020