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This pardulas recipe from Manuela Zangara hails from the island of Sardinia, where these little ricotta-based tartlets are served up over Easter. Serve warm with sprinkles, or simply dusted with icing sugar.

First published in 2016

Pardulas are star-shaped tartlets filled with ricotta, saffron and citrus peel. They are a traditional dessert from the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia and even though they are now available throughout the year, they are still considered the most iconic Easter dessert of the island.

Sardinia is well-known for its sheep and sheep’s milk cheeses which are used in sweet and savoury dishes alike. Traditionally, pardulas too are made with sheep’s milk ricotta, but you can use cow’s milk ricotta too if you cannot find the sheep’s milk version.

The filling has a soft and spongy consistency and it is infused with the flavour of the Mediterranean region, thanks to the citrus peel. The use of saffron adds an extra exotic touch to this delicious dessert. Pardulas should be served lukewarm and can be eaten plain or decorated with icing sugar. They can also be brushed with honey and topped with colourful sprinkles for a more festive look.




Pastry cases

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 15g of lard, or softened butter
  • water, lukewarm, as needed
  • 1 pinch of salt


  • 500g of ricotta, well-drained
  • 30g of durum wheat flour
  • 70g of plain flour
  • 150g of granulated sugar
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp powdered saffron
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Egg wash


  • icing sugar
  • honey
  • sprinkles


To make the tart cases, mix the flour, lard and salt in a bowl. Add a little lukewarm water and knead well until you have a smooth but firm dough. Wrap with cling film and allow to rest for about 20 minutes
In another bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, durum wheat flour, plain flour, baking powder, sugar, egg yolks, saffron, lemon and orange peel. Mix until well-combined to form the filling
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
With a pasta machine or a rolling pin, roll out the tart case dough into a 3mm thick sheet. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut out 8cm circles of dough and keep them aside. Repeat for the rest of the dough
Take a heaped tablespoon of ricotta filling and roll it into a ball. Put it in the centre of one of the dough circles and pinch the edges of the dough together around it to form a star-shaped shell. Repeat for all the circles of dough
Put the pardulas on a baking tray lined with baking paper. In a small bowl, make the egg wash by whisking together the egg yolk and milk, and brush the pardulas with it
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn the oven off and leave the pardulas to cool inside the oven with the door ajar for 10–15 minutes, so they don’t deflate
You can serve the pardulas plain, you can dust them with icing sugar or brush with honey and decorate them with coloured sprinkles. Pardulas are best eaten lukewarm, but you can also serve them at room temperature. They can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 5 days

Discover more about this region's cuisine:

Manuela is an Italian native who currently resides in Australia. She is the author of Manu’s Menu, a food blog about traditional Italian cuisine that she started in 2011. Her blog is one of the top food blogs in Australia.

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