Gluten-free Canestrelli

Some days I feel nostalgic for original Italian pastry. This was one of those days, and I decided to bake cansetrelli from the Intavoliamo website. These Italian cookies, typical of the region of Liguria, were included in the list of Traditional Agri-Food Products of the Liguria region (PAT).

The etymology of the name is uncertain, the term probably derives from “canestro” or the wicker container in which the biscuits were cooled.

The first shortcrust pastry canestrelli date back to Ligurian recipes from the early 1200s. Back then, wheat and white flour were luxury goods and it was therefore considered a waste to use them to make a dessert. For this reason, it caused a sensation to know that some wafer producers started producing these strange biscuits, in the shape of a daisy. Given the preciousness of their raw materials, canestrelli became a symbol of abundance.

The first official document with canestrelli as protagonist dates back to 1576 due to an accident that occurred in Val Trebbia. It is a news story during which a mule driver was attacked and robbed of his biscuits; a sign that their value was still very high even in that period.

Over time, as well as in Liguria, canestrelli have spread to Piedmont and Sardinia, with some variations on the original recipe.

Today they are very popular biscuits and are eaten throughout Italy. They are also known abroad, especially in France, Croatia and Switzerland.

Here is my recipe, of course, gluten-free.


Gluten-free Canestrelli

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: Cookies and Bars, RecipesDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time




  • 75 g 75 confectioners’ sugar – 1/2 cup and 2 Tablespoons

  • 250 g 250 Simona’s Flour Mix – 1 2/3 cups

  • 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 salt

  • 150 g 150 unsalted butter, cubed and cold – 10 Tablespoons and 2 teaspoons

  • 3 large 3 eggs

  • 1/2 lemon 1/2 zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 vanilla extract


  • Hard boil the eggs. It will take 8 minutes in boiling water. The egg yolks will be added to the dough to guarantee the right friability. When the eggs are hard-boiled, peel them and keep only the yolk.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, confectioners sugar, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Add the cold butter and work everything with a pastry cutter or your hands, until you obtain a sand like texture.
  • Pass the cooked yolks through a sieve, and add to the flour mixture. Knead until smooth. Flatten it slightly and wrap it in plastic wrap, refrigerating it for at least one hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll out between plastic wrap to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Use a flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the typical canestrelli daisy shape, and cut a center hole with a piping tip. I used a 2 inch flower shaped cookie cutter, but you can use larger ones if you have them. Please adjust the baking time accordingly.
  • Bake the canestrelli for 9 to 10 minutes. They should not get dark, but remain quite pale. Let them cool completely on a wire rack, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

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