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  • Writer's pictureThe Sicilian Wanderer

The delicious Minne of Sant'Agata: between history, tradition, and sweetness.


minne di santa agata

Dear readers of our travel blog, today we will take you on a journey to discover one of the most fascinating and delicious culinary traditions of Sicily: the Minne di Sant'Agata. These typical Catania sweets, rich in history and culture, are a true symbol of love and devotion to the patron saint of Catania, Sant'Agata. Prepare to immerse yourself in a journey of flavors, anecdotes, and details about their origin and preparation.


Origins and history of the Minne di Sant'Agata:

The Minne di Sant'Agata derive their name from the word "minna", which in Sicilian dialect means the "breast". This name comes from the particular shape of the sweet, which resembles a woman's breast, and refers to the martyrdom suffered by Sant'Agata in 251 A.D., when her breasts were removed as a form of torture. Legend has it that the nuns of the San Benedetto monastery in Catania, to honor the saint's sacrifice, began to prepare these sweets using simple and genuine ingredients, giving them the characteristic shape that still distinguishes them today. The Minne di Sant'Agata thus became a symbol of devotion and a votive offering during the celebrations in honor of the saint, which are held every year from February 3rd to 5th. On these days, Catania transforms into a riot of colors, music, and prayers, and the Minne di Sant'Agata become the undisputed stars of the tables set for the occasion.


Recipe for Minne di Sant'Agata

Recipe for Minne di Sant'Agata


Ingredients:

  • 300g of flour

  • 150g of lard

  • 150g of sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 sachet of baking powder

  • 500g of sheep's ricotta

  • 150g of dark chocolate

  • 100g of powdered sugar

  • Grated zest of one orange

  • Candied fruits and cherries for decoration

  • A pinch of salt


Instructions:

  • 1. To prepare the Minne di Sant'Agata, start with the shortcrust pastry. In a bowl, mix the flour, lard, sugar, one egg, and a pinch of salt. Add the baking powder and work the mixture until you get a smooth and soft dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

  • 2. In the meantime, prepare the filling. In another bowl, mix the sheep's ricotta, powdered sugar, chopped dark chocolate, and grated orange zest. Work the mixture until you get a thick and smooth cream.

  • 3. After the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a floured work surface to a thickness of about 3-4 mm. Using a round pastry cutter, cut out pastry discs and line buttered and floured single-portion molds with them.

  • 4. Fill the molds with the ricotta mixture, leveling the surface well. Cover with another disc of shortcrust pastry, sealing the edges well with a fork. Brush the surface of the Minne with a beaten egg and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until they are golden.

  • 5. Once ready, let the Minne di Sant'Agata cool on a rack and, when they are completely cold, decorate with powdered sugar, candied fruits, and cherries, following the Catania tradition.


The Minne di Sant'Agata are a delicious dessert that encapsulates the history, culture, and faith of the people of Catania. Trying them is a unique experience, a journey through ancient and authentic flavors that will make you fall in love with Sicilian tradition.


minne

Vegan Minne di Sant'Agata: A Tasty and Cruelty-Free Alternative

Dear readers of our travel blog, in response to your requests, today we want to introduce you to a vegan version of the Minne di Sant'Agata, the traditional Catania dessert that celebrates the city's patron saint. This cruelty-free recipe retains the same charm and deliciousness of the original dessert but with ingredients suitable for those following a vegan diet.


Ingredients:

  • 300g of flour

  • 150g of vegetable margarine

  • 150g of brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons of cold water

  • 1 sachet of baking powder

  • 500g of silken tofu (or almond ricotta)

  • 150g of vegan dark chocolate

  • 100g of powdered sugar

  • Grated zest of one orange

  • Vegan candied fruits and cherries for decoration

  • A pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. To prepare the vegan Minne di Sant'Agata, start with the shortcrust pastry. In a bowl, mix the flour, vegetable margarine, brown sugar, cold water, and a pinch of salt. Add the baking powder and work the mixture until you get a smooth and soft dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In another bowl, mix the silken tofu (or almond ricotta), powdered sugar, chopped vegan dark chocolate, and grated orange zest. Work the mixture until you get a thick and smooth cream.

  3. After the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a floured work surface to a thickness of about 3-4 mm. Using a round pastry cutter, cut out pastry discs and line single-portion molds previously greased with vegetable margarine and floured.

  4. Fill the molds with the silken tofu or almond ricotta mixture, leveling the surface well. Cover with another disc of shortcrust pastry, sealing the edges well with a fork. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until they are golden.

  5. Once ready, let the vegan Minne di Sant'Agata cool on a rack and, when they are completely cold, decorate with powdered sugar, vegan candied fruits, and cherries, following the revisited Catania tradition.

The Best Minne di Sant'Agata in Catania

Catania is the homeland of the Minne di Sant'Agata, and as you stroll through the city streets, you can find numerous pastry shops and bakeries offering this delicious dessert. Some of the most renowned places to taste the best Minne di Sant'Agata in Catania are:

  • Pasticceria Savia: Located at Via Etnea 300/302, this historic Catania pastry shop is one of the most appreciated for its Minne di Sant'Agata. Pasticceria Savia is known for its excellent pastries, and the Minne di Sant'Agata are among the specialties most loved by locals and tourists.

  • Caffè Europa: Located at Piazza Europa 6, Caffè Europa is one of Catania's oldest pastry shops, famous for its Minne di Sant'Agata. Their version of the dessert is faithful to the traditional recipe and is prepared with high-quality ingredients.

  • Pasticceria Spinella: Located at Via Garibaldi 397, Pasticceria Spinella is another must-visit address to taste the Minne di Sant'Agata. Known for its wide selection of sweets and pastries, this pastry shop offers a delicious version of the Minne that captivates the most demanding palates.

  • Pasticceria Irrera 1910: At Via Antonino di Sangiuliano 276, Pasticceria Irrera 1910 offers one of the best Minne di Sant'Agata in Catania. The pastry shop is famous for the quality of its desserts and the care in the preparation of the Minne, which respect tradition and maintain authentic flavors.

  • Pasticceria Bellavia: Located at Via Umberto I 72, Pasticceria Bellavia is another must-stop for those looking for the best Minne di Sant'Agata. This pastry shop stands out for the goodness of its desserts and the particular attention in the decoration of the Minne, reflecting the Catania tradition.

We recommend visiting these pastry shops to savor the best Minne di Sant'Agata in Catania and discover the different nuances of taste and presentation that characterize this typical dessert. Remember that during the celebrations in honor of Sant'Agata, from February 3rd to 5th, the Minne di Sant'Agata will be in high demand, so it's advisable to book them in advance.

We hope this post has made you want to taste the Minne di Sant'Agata and discover the beauties of Catania and Sicily. Keep following us on our travel blog for more culinary adventures and to explore the wonders of our beautiful country!

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