Galatina | Salento Tarts

They’re not quite as famous as their Portuguese sisters, the world-celebrated pastéis de nata of Lisbon’s Belém quarter, but Andrea Ascalone‘s custard tarts are certainly legendary around here, as the queues in and outside the family pastry shop in Galatina testify. And they have quite a history too, as it seems the first ones date back to 1745 when a predecessor in the cakes and pastries trade, an Ascaloneancestor by the name of Nicola, just happened to put some leftover shortcrust pastry and custard into a small copper pan and bake himself a delicious little morsel.

He called it a pasticcio, meaning both a pastry or pie and a bit of a mess, and to this day they’re known in the local dialect as pasticciotti de Lu Scalone, or more generically – and wherever else they hazard an imitation – pasticciotti leccesi. Andrea Ascalone has been making them practically all his life, and that’s more than 70 years. Don’t miss them if you’re in the Salento. If not, they’ll ship some to you.