Hotspot: La Pasticceria di Grammatico Maria, Erice – Venuti’s Sicilia tour’s First Foodgasm!

Hotspot: La Pasticceria di Grammatico Maria, Erice – Venuti’s Sicilia tour’s First Foodgasm!

You always remember your first time!

pasticceria erice

As a group of ready, willing and able participants…  on our inaugural Venuti’s Sicilia Foodgasms tour, Day 2: 23 June 2013… we experienced our first FOODGASM! xxx

We were in a small little town on the top of a Western Sicily mountain called Erice – where the clouds fly past faster than you have ever seen clouds fly – where we met the most amazing woman… Maria Grammatico at Hot Spot: La Pasticceria di Grammatico Maria.

Maria is so generous, and has a beautiful and sad story that led her to create the first Pasticceria in Enrice.  She was orphaned and entered the convent of the young age of 11. During here time there she learned the ancient tradition and secrets of pastry making.  After 15 long years of following her passion, and making sacrifices – Maria left the convent and opened her Pasticceria.  Her story has been captured by Canadian writer Mary Taylor Simeti “Bitter Almonds” and includes lots of delicious recipes and recollections of her life – available on Amazon.

Now famous around the world for it’s Sicilian pastries and marzipan, we were so fortunate to be able to talk to Maria when we visited as part of our tour and be invited to go out the back… where the magic is made… to meet all of her amazing pastry chefs.  We were also able to, of course, sample Maria’s delights – the traditional almond pastries, Paradisi, Genovesi, and our first Cannolo in Sicily!

We’re not sure if it was the texture of the ricotta, the sweet soft filling, or the perfect crunch in the mouth – but all agreed, the pastries blew our minds, and we experienced our first Foodgasm! 4 kisses were given by all… and the tasting games had begun xxx

To help bring  little taste from this amazing Foodgasms Hot Spot in bella Siclia to you – we’re thrilled to share with you Maria’s recipe for Genovesi…





  • 250g flour (grano duro – durum wheat)
  • 250g plain flour (’00′)
  • 200g sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • A few spoons of cold water

Crema filling:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150g sugar
  • 40g corn starch
  • 500mL milk
  • 1/2 grated lemon zest


  1. Mix the two types of flour together with the sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and massage the butter lightly with the tips of your fingers until the mixture is like grainy sand on the beach.
  3. Stir in the egg yolks, one at a time, and add enough water so that the dough is compact.
  4. Put the mixture onto a floured surface and form a small ball.  Wrap this with clingwrap and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the crema filling:  Beat the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk. Melt the cornstarch in half a glass of milk, and then add the remaining milk, stirring well.
  6. Pour the mixture slowly into a saucepan with the yolks, beating well with a whisk.  Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly for 10-12 minutes – until the mixture is very thick, like a pudding, then stir in the grated lemon zest.
  7. Pour into a bowl and cover with cling wrap, making sure that the film is directly on the crema, and let it cool.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220′C.
  9. With you hands, make dough pieces of 2cm in diameter, cutting into long 8cm pieces.  Roll each with a rolling pin to form rectangles of 15 x 10 x 1/2 cm.
  10. Put two tablespoons of cream on half of each rectangle and fold the other half over, pressing around the edges with your fingers.
  11. Cut into circles with a round cutter with jagged edges.
  12. Place on a baking sheet with a distance of about 2.5cm between each.  Bake in the hot oven for about 7 minutes – until slightly browned on the surface.
  13. Transfer to a rack and sprinkle with icing sugar.
  14. Serve warm! xxx

Buon appetito! xxx

cooking enrice