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PAT - Traditional Agri-Foodstuffs

The Recipe to Make Tigelle

(text by Stefania Remondini)
Tigelle are molds of refractory material with a diameter of about 12 centimeters and a thickness varying from 1 to 2 centimeters, used in the area of Appennino Modenese, to cook the typical crescenti montanare. The process to make tigelle is very long and difficult. The necessary ingredients for such recipe are three: chestnut tree wood earth, calcite, and water. The essential proportion is given by three hectograms of calcite for one kilo of earth.
The preparation of tigella begins by processing the calcite, a characteristic local mineral which is very widespread in clayey grounds. The first operation consists in the cooking of this stone on the fire until it becomes red-hot. This procedure is necessary to make calcite easy to break and also to separate the mineral from the rock which is often mixed together. Once it becomes red-hot, the calcite is broken with a pestle and sieved in order to obtain grains with the same size. The mineral grains obtained are mixed with water and chestnut tree wood earth. The latter needs to be gathered at least at half meter of depth, since it must not be touched either by ice or by the sun. Moreover, the earth must not contain either small roots or other elements that can make it impure. The three ingredients are then mixed and beaten with an iron stick for a few hours in order to obtain a smooth and elastic mixture. When it is ready, the mixture is put into a special wooden mold, usually decorated with particular engravings (among which the characteristic "six-petal rose") in order to make the so-called tigella. The slabs obtained are laid on a wooden board, in a dark place with no air, to dry. The drying process lasts about one month, during which they must be turned every ten days. Once dried, tigelle are cooked in the wood-burning oven at a temperature of at least 100°C for about one hour. The result of this complex process are beautiful tigelle which, once made red-hot in the fireplace, are used to crescentine montanare.


Recipe for Crescentine (to follow only if tigelle are used during the cooking)
- Flour
- Mild milk (60%)
- Water (40%)
- Salt
- Bicarbonate (a full teaspoon for 10 crescentine).
Work into dough until you obtain a compact mixture. Form some balls and roll them out with the rolling pin.

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