History of the Polish Aversana, the dessert divided between Lecce and Northern Europe

by Federico Quagliuolo

Poland has done several sweet gifts to Campania. After baba, born on the table of a Polish king, there is the most modern Polish aversana, born about a hundred years ago. The most famous legend tells that the dessert was invented after the lucky meeting between an anonymous nun and the pastry chefs Nicola and Maria Mungiguerra, but not everyone agrees on this version.

This is the dessert that fills every Averon with pride: that mix of brioche dough, sour cherries and custard is the mandatory gift that each Aversano makes to guests who visit the beautiful city of Terra di Lavoro for the first time.

Drożdżówki

We were not wrong to write: it is precisely the name of the dessert which, according to the legend, is the basis of the Aversana preparation. It is a kind of brioscina filled with cream, jam or chocolate.

Legend has it that in 1926, in one Aversa which at the time was the largest inhabited center in the province of Caserta, lived a nice nun of Polish origins inside the Convent of the Cappuccinelle. The woman had tightened friendship with two young Aversani pastry chefs, the Mungiguerra couple. It was to the two of them that he suggested the recipe for a typical dessert of his parts, which is still sold today throughout the province of Caserta.

On the other hand, there is no historical information in support of the urban legend which even imagines one Polish princess who, on a visit to Aversa in medieval times, brought the dessert to the city.

Drożdżówki
Polish Drożdżówki

Daughter of the Lecce pasticciotto?

The version of the Mungiguerra pastry shop does not convince everyone at 100%. In fact, there are those who claim that the dessert was born from a lucky one meeting between Aversa and Lecce but, for marketing reasons,. The similarities with the Typical Italian cake with custard cream filling prince of Salento, in fact, there are: a creamy heart and a soft, but moderately stiff dough. Even the size of the small version they are more or less similar.

There are those who believe that pastry chefs simply have revisited the Lecce recipe, using brioche dough instead of shortcrust pastry. The dessert was then called "ankle boot" Why remembered the shape of the shoes produced in Aversa.

polacca aversana caffè
Photograph by Saggiomo coffee shop

Polish and Great Polish

Traced the historical origins, we must do the due distinctions: the Polish aversana, understood as sweet breakfast single portion, is the original one. It has a rounded shape, halfway between the brioche and the croissant.

On the other hand, the Great Pole, which is the "cake" version. This was invented from scratch by the Mungiguerra, as a table reinterpretation, excellent for making a good figure with guests. In Aversa it is the Sunday dessert par excellence.

Storia della Polacca aversana, il dolce diviso fra Lecce e il Nord Europa
The Pope visits Aversa

The dessert of the Pope and the President

From Poland to the Vatican City: John Paul II, which in his homeland was a lover of Drożdżówki, as he himself recounted several times, he was also a great admirer of his version from Campania. In addition visited Aversa in May 1990 and, of course, it was immediately honored with the dessert that bears the name of his homeland.

It was not only Karol Wojtyla who succumbed to the taste of cream with black cherries. Another great greedy was the President of the Republic Giovanni Leone, even if its Neapolitan origins betray an obvious knowledge of the local specialties.

Recipe of the Polish aversana

For the recipe, we refer you to the blog "Michy's cakes"

-Federico Quagliuolo

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