The Torcetto is a naturally leavened dried confectionery product, consisting of a stick of paste, coated with sugar, and folded when the two ends are joined into an oval shape, as an elongated teardrop.

torcetti biellesi

torcetti biellesi

Some attribute them to the valleys of Biella, where a few decades ago, he felt to say how much were good some Torcetti of Piazzo (Bi). Very famous also are the Torcetti of Saint-Vincent (Aosta), made famous by the gluttony of Queen Margherita. Without forgetting Aglié (To), where it is well rooted tradition of celebrating this good cookie with the “festival of Torcetto” … In any case, today there are torcetti a bit all over the Piedmont, to the point that they can be considered among the most representative cookies of the region.

The “torchietti” as they were called in ‘700 for their twisted shape, were already described in the book “Confetturiere Piemontese” published in 1790. In the “Treaty of cooking and modern pastry” of 1854 Giovanni Vialardi, assistant chef of King Carlo Alberto and Vittorio Emanuele II, describes three recipes of torchietti, starting from as many types of dough. One of these is almost similar to the current; the most obvious difference is the use of natural yeast instead of the beer yeast used nowadays. Sandro Doglio, in his “Dictionary of gastronomy of Piedmont”, after a thorough literature review cites Lanzo as likely village of origin of torcetto. Traditionally torcetti were born as cookies made of bread dough, passed in sugar or honey and prepared in wood-burning ovens common in the countries in which time all the families used to bake bread together. Generally torcetti were placed in the mouth of the baking oven, until this was hot enough to bake bread. With the passage of time the product underwent a transformation: from the initial big sticks sweet bread, from 1800 onwards the torcetto became a true product of dry pastry.

torcetti di Saint Vincent

torcetti di Saint Vincent

The size of the torcetti was reduced by about half, the consistency of the paste is made lighter thanks to less raw flour, to the yeast, and especially the introduction of the butter. It also altered the way to consume torcetti. At first they were intended only to children (on the rare occasions that they had at one time to eat sweets), then went on to present after the meal and to family gatherings (baptisms, weddings, etc.), Sometimes accompanied with whipped cream sprinkled of ground barley coffee or with eggnog.

Here is the recipe of torcetti from Biella:


flour 500g
butter into cubes 200 gr
sugar 150g
beer yeast 5 g


Put the yeast in two tablespoons of warm water and let it melt.

Place the flour in crown with a pinch of salt, two tablespoons of sugar in the center and put the yeast and add 250 ml of water. Then knead until dough is smooth and homogeneous.
Let leaven the dough for torcetti until doubled in volume (about one hour).

Working cubes of butter to soften, then knead the butter and the yeast mixture. Repeat the leavening for another hour.

Knead the dough briefly and form by passing it under the palm of the hands, sticks with a diameter of one centimeter and a length of about ten centimeters.
Pass them in the remaining sugar and cross the ends crushing them to give them the classic teardrop shape.

Arrange torcetti on a baking pan lined with parchment paper, bake at 200 ° C for about fifteen minutes.

The shelf life of torcetti varies according to the places where they are stored and packaged and can arrive in the best conditions, in about six months.
The product is sold loose or packaged in custom bags.


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