Bostrengo: the recipe for the rustic and greedy typical sweet from the Marche region

The bostrengo is a Christmas cake typical of the Marche region. It is an ancient recipe, made with poor ingredients, based on rice – which in this recipe replaces spelt and barley, the cereals used in the past – stale bread, flour, dried fruit, butter, eggs and sugar.

A cake with a rustic and genuine flavour, with a moist texture and an intense aroma, thanks to the addition of grated orange zest and a drop of rum. As with most traditional dishes, especially the more humble ones, there are many different versions and each family has its own mix of ingredients. Simple and quick, it is perfect to be enjoyed at the end of a meal with coffee or as a snack, accompanied by a cup of tea. Find out how to prepare Bostrengo in a few easy steps.


FLOUR type 00- 300 gr • 36 kcal
RICE 150 gr
STALE BREAD 100 gr • 79 kcal
RAISINS 50 gr • 317 kcal
FRESH MILK 1 glass • 286 kcal
SUGAR 100 gr • 750 kcal
EGGS 3 • 380 kcal
APPLE 1 • 43 kcal
ORANGE 1 • 34 kcal
RUM 1 teaspoon • 750 kcal
BUTTER 50 gr • 380 kcal
POWDERED SUGAR to taste • 380 kcal
The calories refer to 100 grams of the product

How to prepare the bostrengo

Boil the rice in boiling water for the time indicated on the package, then drain it and let it cool (1).

Put the stale bread to soak in milk (2).

Chop all the dried fruit (3).

In a bowl, mix the soft butter with the sugar (4).

Add the rice and eggs (5), then incorporated well.

Add the well-squeezed bread, flour, cocoa, dried fruit and mix again (6).

Add the apple, peeled and cut into small pieces (7). Scent with the grated orange zest and rum, then mix carefully.

Cover a rectangular pan with parchment paper, wet and squeezed, pour the mixture and level it carefully (8). Bake the cake at 175 ° C and cook for about 1 hour.

After the cooking time, take the cake out of the oven and let it cool, then turn it out of the mould and cut it into cubes. Sprinkle it with plenty of icing sugar and serve (9).


The advice is to use a 20 × 30 cm rectangular pan, lining it with a sheet of parchment paper, wet and well wrung out: in this way it will adhere perfectly to the bottom and edges of the mould.

The advice is to use rice of the Balilla variety: belonging to the category of round rice, it is rich in starch, hardly resists cooking and lends itself perfectly to this kind of preparation. You can also replace it with spelt or barley or use a mixture of more cereals (pay attention to the cooking times which may be different).

You can also make a very tasty and fragrant version using chestnut flour. You can replace dried figs with another type of dried fruit, such as apricots and dates, and walnut kernels with hazelnuts or almonds.

For added fragrance to desserts, also add a pinch of cinnamon or a vanilla powder.


Once called “empty cupboard”, because it was prepared with everything you had at home, Bostrengo is a typical dessert of the Montefeltro area. It is also known as Burlengo in the provinces of Pesaro and Urbino, and Frustingo in the south of the Marche. Made with poor and easily available ingredients, it has been gradually enriched with cocoa, honey, dried fruit and rum, ending up resembling the famous Tuscan cousin: the panforte.


The bostrengo is kept at room temperature, under a glass bell or in a special airtight container, for 4-5 days.

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