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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Dolci dei Morticini (Rame di Napoli)

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

When I was little, the night between November 1st and 2nd was a special one. On that night, between the day of All Saints and the day of the Dead, every household in Sicily would become populated with the spirits of our beloved departed. These spirits were not of the frightening, ghostly kind. They were the same familiar faces in photographs framed and displayed in the living room - the forced smile and best dress ironed to perfection.

That night, the spirits of our departed grandparents and great-grandparents - we affectionately called them “morticini” - would visit us children in our sleep and hide many gifts and sweets around the house.

It’s hard to describe the excitement the next morning when, hearts pounding, we would wake up at dawn and run around the house looking for gifts, hidden usually under a bed or above a wardrobe.

Later that day, we would dress up and pay respects at the cemetery to thank our dearly departed for what they had brought us. Far from being morbid or sad, this was (and still is) a day of celebration and remembrance of those we loved and no longer with us.

Among the sweet treats, which we broadly call “dolci dei morti”, these - called “rami di meli” or “rame di napoli” - are some of the most traditional ones in Sicily, and I baked a big batch in remembrance and celebration of the Day of the Dead which happens to be today, and in homage to those who left us, who we still miss every day. ❤️


  • 500g 00 flour

  • 200g sugar

  • 150g butter

  • 300ml milk

  • 80g of unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 16g of baking powder

  • 1tbsp honey

  • 4 cloves, powdered

  • 1tsp ground cinnamon

  • Grated zest of 1 orange

For the glaze:

  • 200g dark chocolate

  • 60g butter

  • Chopped pistachios


Melt butter and honey together.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest. Add butter & honey.

Warm up milk & add baking powder. Add this mixture to the batter.

Take a spoonful of batter and with wet hands form an oval ball and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 180C for 20 minutes

Meanwhile, melt chocolate & butter in a bain marie. When the cookies have cooled down completely, dip in melted chocolate and sprinkle chopped pistachios.

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