Abruzzo Traditional Christmas Dessert: Caggionetti

Abruzzo Recipes
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 10

In Abruzzo it isn’t Christmas without Caggionetti. There are many versions according to the area and your tastes. In this version caggionetti are filled with chickpeas, bitter cacao, sugar, honey, mosto cotto (cooked wine), walnuts, almonds, peel of orange and ground cinnamon



  • 1 kg of chickpeas
  • 100 g of bitter cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 250 g of honey
  • 1 cup of mosto cotto (cooked wine: 1 lt of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine and 600 gr of sugar boiled up to the caramelization)
  • 300 g of walnuts
  • 300 g of almonds
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon


  • Fine wheat flour – cake flour (1 kg)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 glass of extra-virgin olive oil  (200 ml, 6.7628 ounces, 0,84 cups)
  • 1 glass of white wine (200 ml, 6.7628 ounces, 0,84 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • vegetable oil (about 2 liters)



  1. Boil and mush the chickpeas.
  2. Dissolve the honey in a saucepan with sugar and mosto cotto, add cacao, mix and add the spices and the chickpeas, and finally the ground nuts and almonds.
  3. Mix well, remove from heat and let cool.


  1. Make a fountain with the flour
  2. Add all the ingredients (for the dough) to the center
  3. Stir with a fork slowly incorporating the flour until a dough forms
  4. Roll the dough into a thin sheet
  5. Cut into squares
  6. Put a half tablespoon of filling in the center
  7. Close as a book
  8. Squeeze the edges
  9. Fry in hot vegetable oil

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27 thoughts on “Abruzzo Traditional Christmas Dessert: Caggionetti

  1. John Manna

    My nonna who was from Vasto made these all of the time.
    For years I have been trying ro get this recipe .Every time someone would give me the recipe it wasnot like my nonnas. This is it!!! Finally!
    What a great recipe ! Grazie!

    • 02/05/2015

      Grazie John for your words! It’s a pleasure to let you feel old emotions! Fabrizio

  2. Diane Zaino Smith

    Have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes – thank you, Fabizio

    • You’re welcome Diane,

      we are very happy and proud to create similar emotions!

      Keep following us.

      Best regards


  3. Joseohine Mitrano

    My mother used to make something similar but instead of the wine she used grape juice and grape jam which she cooked with the rest of the ingredients stirring until it was spreadable. She would then sprinkle with sugar and bake.

  4. giovanna

    So amazing to find your website. This is the closest I have gotten to Grandma’s recipe.
    Mille grazie, Fabrizio.

  5. Anita

    My father is from Sulmona. He used to make these when I was little. I’ve always wanted a recipe but was never even sure of the correct spelling so I could look it up. Thank you for posting this recipe. I’m looking forward to more!

    • Many thanks Maria to share this story with us. We are happy that now you know the correct spelling of Caggionetti! Buon Natale!

  6. 09/01/2019

    Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it,
    you may be a great author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog
    and may come back in the foreseeable future. I want
    to encourage you continue your great writing, have a nice evening!

  7. Melissa

    Yes!! We make these also. But we also use grape jam in the filling. Between what my mom could remember and the Internet, we’ve found our recipe. Our family was from Torre de’ Passeri. This warms my heart and puts a smile on my face!

  8. Joanne Pirro

    I too have been searching and searching for this exact recipe. Thank you so much!

  9. Valerie Cantagallo

    My family is so excited to have found your website. As many have mentioned this is a favored memory from our much loved and truly missed ancestors. It is my husband and I life dream to visit Penne, Italy where our family lived.

  10. Annamaria

    The recipe calls for glass of white wine, how much?! Is this in printable form? Have looked and can’t find that!
    My Babbo was from Penne and I miss him and want to continue connecting to his beloved Abruzzo!
    Grazie tanto:)
    Annamaria Rita (Gambacorta) Woolworth

    • Fabrizio Lucci

      Ciao Annamaria,

      many thanks for your request. 1 “glass” of olive oil and 1 “glass” of white wine correspond to 200 ml, 6.7628 Ounces. Enjoy caggionetti and Buon Natale (Merry Christmas)!
      T print it you should copy and paste it on word.

      Penne is a beutiful village:-)


  11. Donna Wierzbowski

    Please quantify what is meant by 1 “glass” of olive oil and 1 “glass” of white wine in the dough portion of the ingredients. I think i’d like to make them.

    • Fabrizio Lucci

      Ciao Donna,

      many thanks for your request. 1 “glass” of olive oil and 1 “glass” of white wine correspond to 200 ml, 6.7628 Ounces. Enjoy caggionetti and Buon Natale (Merry Christmas)!


  12. 12/04/2019

    He lol,
    I am a sixty five year old man. My grandparents and my father are from a little town in Abruzzi named “Musellaro” not sure of the spelling. My grandmother would make this Caggionetti every Christmas and I loved it, really loved it. Sadly after she past, no one in the family knew the recipe..two sons and two daughter all excellent cooks could not reproduce it. My grandmother did not speak English and in her broken English she pronounced it
    Calchoon. So nobody I ever spoke to about it had no idea what I was talking about. I knew most of the ingredients but not all. Imagine my surprise when I came across your recipe tonight. I was thinking about the Christmas I had as a kid, my grandma and those delicious
    “Calchoons”. I decided on a whim to search out Abruzzi pastry and your recipe was the first one to pop up. I know based on the ingredients of your recipe that this is it. Thank you, thank you so much for giving me back some of my Christmas memories and flavors. I’m sure that the cooked wine is a key ingredient, who knew. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    God bless,
    Joseph Staffieri
    Rochester NY

    • Fabrizio Lucci

      Dear Joseph,

      many many thanks for your very emotional story. We are very happpy to have helped you to find this recipe and to give you back some of your Christmas memories and flavors. Enjoy them and Buon Natale (Merry Christmas)! Fabrizio

  13. Fabrizio Lucci

    Many thanks for your wonderful comments, we are very happy to let you discover this traditional recipe that give you back some of your Christmas memories and flavors!

    Ciao for now and if you would like to discover your roots with us, please have a look to this page: https://www.italiasweetitalia.com/tours/ancestry-a-holiday-to-trace-your-abruzzo-roots/.

    Buon Natale!


  14. Alicia DiBerardino Barrasso

    My mom who was born in Corvara used to make these every Christmas. I tried making them myself a few times but they never came out like hers. Now that I saw your recipe it brought back so many fond memories of baking with my mom. I must try at least one more time to make them to honor her memory of such happy holiday times we had.

    • Fabrizio Lucci

      Many thanks dear Alicia for sharing with us such a good memory. I wish you good luck with the new preparation (there is a “secret” ingredient, the love) and Buon Natale! Fabrizio

  15. 12/07/2019

    My beloved mamma, that was born and raised in a little town in Abbruzzo called Colledimezzo, always made these at Christmas time but I never got the recipe. So excited to try these, although my moms didn’t have the nuts in it.
    Would you happen to have the recipe for cillitti (not sure of spelling) also? These are the ones that look like little horseshoes with grape jelly, mosto cotto and chopped walnuts in it.
    Thank you and Buon Natale!

    • Fabrizio Lucci

      Many thanks dear Evelina for sharing with us such a good memory. Colledimezzo is a beautiful village on the lake of Bomba.About “cillitti”, we prepare them during our cultural and culinary tours and at the moment we decided to give the recipe only to the travelers that decide to came to Abruzzo to discover our traditions, food, landscapes and people with us. I hope that you can understand. Buon Natale!

  16. 12/11/2019

    Bellissimo lavoro,bravo continua cosi!!

    • Fabrizio Lucci

      Grazie mille Robby! Keep following us and Merry Christmas! Fabrizio

  17. 01/13/2020

    Generally I don’t learn post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at
    and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me.
    Thanks, quite nice article.

  18. Sheila Knapp

    My family also referred to these desserts as “Calchoons”. I have family in Ortona. My great grandmother was an Iannucci and my great grandfather was a D’Amico. We make this recipe with grade jam and walnts.

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