The “schiacciata di Pasqua” (Easter Schiacchiata) is a Tuscan sweet bread flavored with anise seeds and orange. The dish was typical in rural areas in the 19th century and was a way of using up the leftover springtime eggs. The name schiacciata comes from the Italian word schiacciare (smash in English), a reference to needing to smash or break the eggs to make the bread. A lot of patience for this dish is requested: the dough needs to rise five times for many hours.
Why the name “Pasqua” (Easter) ? According to the traditional recipe, it should be left to rise for 100 hours. So, preparation began on the Tuesday before Easter mixing enough flour, water and yeast for each guest at the Easter lunch. More flour per person was added the following evening, and so on for the remaining evenings until Good Friday. After the Holy Procession the real dough was prepared and left to rise all night until the following morning, then baked in a log oven.
It can be found and bought in the bakeries or “pasticcerie” in Pisa, Livorno and the surrounding areas, particularly in the Easter period but also in springtime.
The cake is celebrated at Eastertime with a festival in Montecastello (near Pontedera) and in Ponte a Egola near san Miniato.