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St. Joseph’s Raviole, The Cookies of Bologna

St. Joseph's Raviole, The Cookies of Bologna

Welcome to Bologna.

A city where the same name may indicate a fresh pasta or something sweet.
So it happens that in Bologna there are sweet versions of tortellini, tagliatelle, tortelli and ravioli (but just ravioli become raviole, by taking the female name).

For example, tortellini are little chocolates, tagliatelle and tortelli are also fried Carnival sweets. In the same way, depending on where you’re from, the word ravioli may call to mind pasta, but in Bologna, these raviole, are actually sweet.

Traditionally, these Bolognese cookies are made for St. Joseph, which is celebrated on March 19, and in Italy coincides with Father’s Day. They announce the arrival of spring and have always made me think of swallows.

St. Joseph's Raviole, The Cookies of Bologna

Raviole Cookies Recipe

The classic recipe calls for a filling of mostarda of Bologna or plum jam, formed into a half-moon shape, and a sprinkling of sugar strands top.

Similar to a shortcrust dough, it should have a crunchy, dense texture.

These cookies are perfect for breakfast, sweet merenda, and basket picnic. They are also perfect for dipping in sweet wine at the end a big family lunch.

You can also choose a different filling. Like custard or chocolate cream. The version with the cream is one of my favorites and I don’t think there’s any need to explain why. Whether you choose jam or cream, the method doesn’t change.

The half-moon shape makes the ravioli look like smiles. That smiles and cookies can never be too many. What’s the biscuit in your tradition that you love most?


St. Joseph's Raviole, The Cookies of Bolognaiscotti di Bologna

Food Tips

These cookies are quite durable, and you’ll want to store them in a glass container versus plastic to keep them from getting soft.

Before cooking, decorate with grains of sugar. Other variants: chocolate chips, almond or pistachios chopped. If you don’t have any of these, brush with milk and then, after baking, once the biscuits are cold, sprinkle them with icing sugar. For a wow effect you can decorate with sugar or chocolate icing.

St. Joseph’s Raviole Cookies Recipe

for about 37-40 cookies

250 g flour 00
120 g butter, cut into chunks
100 g sugar
4 g of baking powder
2 small eggs
1 pinch of salt

grated rind of half a lemon

Filling: Bolognese Mustard, Plum Jam or another you like.


In a bowl mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, add the grated lemon rind, eggs and butter (cold and cut into chunks).

Start kneading with your fingertips. When the dough is still “crumbling” but begins to take shape, place everything on a clean chopping board or surface and continue to knead quickly until you get a compact but soft dough.

Wrap it in film and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

St. Joseph's Raviole, The Cookies of BolognaWhen rolling out the dough, you will want to obtain a thin layer (3-4 mm).

Use a glass or round cookie cutters to get as many circular pieces as possible (5-6 cm in diameter).

Fill with a bit of jam or custard and close to form a half-moon.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for about 12-13 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden.

Let cool before serving.

Italian Mustard

Italian mustards are not like regular mustards but are chutney-like condiments made from candied fruits.

There are different types of mustard. For instance Bologna’s mustard is quite different from that from Cremona. The first is a sweet candied fruit even more compact than a normal jam. The second one instead has got the same texture but is more strong and perfect to serve with cheese or meat.

St. Joseph's Raviole, The Cookies of Bologna

St. Joseph's Raviole, The Cookies of Bologna

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