La rocciata

Attorta and Rocciata

Per 8 people
20 min.
Cook time
40 min.

The attorta, or rocciata as it is known, is a popular cake in almost all of Umbria prepared during the winter holidays (from the beginning of November until Carnival). In particular, it is prepared especially during the Christmas holidays, perhaps because of its red colour given by alchermes.

Most probably, this cake dates back to ancient times: even the Eugubine Tables mention different types of breads that were offered to the gods by the Umbrian people. Among these, we find the term tenzitim, which can be transcribed as “tensedio”, the name of a bread whose literal meaning is “rope that is eaten”. It seems to be the ancestor of our attorta or rocciata.

Today, this cake is prepared according to different recipes throughout the region, which vary in the ingredients of the pastry and the filling. The one ingredient that must never be missing is apples, one of the few fruits that, especially in past decades, could be stored throughout the winter.

If you want to try your hand at making this cake, remember that in the past many people did not follow a recipe with precise doses: the only rule was to use the ingredients you had on hand. 

Try following what we suggest in the video, or experiment with the ingredients in the list. By feel!




For the filling, dice the apples. Cook them in sugar for the “cooked” version.

Add the sugar, bitter cocoa, walnuts and other ingredients to the apples thus prepared if you want to leave them raw (in this raw version, you can season the apples the night before to make the finished dessert, so that they will taste better with the other ingredients).

For the pastry, mix the flour with a level tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, the egg (the egg can be replaced with plain water, or water and wine in equal parts) or and oil. Knead the dough until it is soft and homogeneous, then roll it out into a thin sheet.

When it is ready, spread the filling on the pastry sheet, taking care to leave the edges free, which will be used to close it.

Now close the pastry by first rolling it lengthwise, so that the filling remains all inside, and then place it inside the baking tray (you can help with a cloth) to give it the typical twisted snake shape.

After brushing the top of the cake with a little oil, bake it in the oven for 40 minutes at moderate heat, or until the apples are cooked through.

When cooked, decorate the surface with alchermes and sugar.