Osi da Morto – Dead Man’s bones
A little history...
Actually Halloween has nothing to do with it, but the story goes that on the night between the 1st and 2nd November the souls of the deceased come back from the ultramundane world or the hereafter: the journey that separates them from the world of the living is long and tiring which is why they have provisions which will make them more benevolent in the days to come. The recipes for these delights can be found more or less all over Italy. In the area around Treviso, Dead Man's Bones were first made in Salgareda by the baker Piovesan in 1851 and nobody shivers at the thought of crunching on a bone in an area where for centuries the most long-awaited festival of the year was the killing of a pig after which followed a sumptuous "ossàda" or feast of 'bones' in the form of biscuits.
250 gr. of wheat flour
15 gr. of yeast
30 gr. of butter
30 gr. of extra-virgin olive oil
50 gr. of sugar
40 gr. of honey
1 small glass of anise liqueur
1 egg white
Salt to taste
Prepare the dough with the flour, yeast and a pinch of salt, then leave it to rise. Soften the butter to room temperature, cut it into small pieces, place in a bowl and beat it into a creamy substance with a wooden spoon. Stir in the oil, sugar, honey and aniseed liqueur.
Roll out the risen dough and amalgamate with the other ingredients until you get a soft smooth consistency.
Divide the dough into portions, make small cylinders of the size of the little finger and cut these into pieces of 10 cm each; press a slight hollow in the centre of each one with an open hand, leaving the ends a bit thicker so they take on the typical shape of bones. Lay out the biscuits on a baking-tin covered with oven-proof paper, keeping them slightly distant from each other and bake them in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 170°C.
Take them out of the oven when they are still soft and brush over with beaten egg white, then let them cool off for at least one night.
The day after, put the baking-tin back in the oven on low heat to harden them up until they become crumbly.