Cupeta: the recipe of the Christmas holidays

The cupeta or copeta is a typical Apulian Christmas cake, in particular the kitchen Salento and Lecce, a preparation similar to that of nougat and crunchy almonds. The main ingredients are caramelized sugar and lightly toasted almonds, flavoured with lemon zest and vanilla. The origins of this crunchy date back to 1200: the ancient Romans called it “cuppedia”, while the Arabs identified it with the term “qubbayat”, indicating a sweet preserve. Making Salento cupetait is not difficult, it will only take the right time to obtain a delicious preparation and enrich the menu of Christmas sweets. But here are all the steps to make it happen.


ALMONDS 500 gr • 595 kcal
SUGAR 300 gr • 750 kcal
1 cup water • 0 kcal
1/2 lemon juice • 29 kcal
1/2 lemon zest • 43 kcal
VANILLIN powder 0.5 gr • 750 kcal
The calories refer to 100 grams of the product

How to prepare the Apulian copeta or cupeta

Put the almonds in a pan with cold water and bring to a boil for at least 5 minutes (1). Peel them while still hot, so the skin will come off easily (2). Let them dry and toast them in the oven at 165 ° C for 5 minutes or until golden (3).

Put the sugar, water, lemon juice and vanilla (4) in a saucepan and boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula (5): be careful because the sugar must not burn. Stir until the sugar is slightly amber in colour. Turn off the heat and add the almonds (6) and lemon zest, incorporating them into the rest of the mixture.

Pour everything onto an oiled marble surface and, with the help of a spatula, spatulate, turning the mixture over and over. Alternatively, pour everything onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and level until it reaches 1 centimetre in height (7). Let the sugar crystallize: it will take about half an hour (8). Once the cupeta is ready, place it on a cutting board and cut into rectangles or squares with a smooth blade knife. Your Salento cupeta is ready to be tasted (9).


To speed up the preparation you can use peeled almonds. You can also omit the vanillin or lemon zest if you don’t like them. During the preparation of caramelized sugar, the temperature should not exceed 170 ° C: use a cooking thermometer.

If you want a thinner cupeta, spread it out over a larger surface. If you want to make it thicker, use a smaller surface.

Enrich the holiday table with other Apulian sweet specialities such as cartellate, delicious arabesque pasta roses usually covered with mulled wine or honey, and mostaccioli or sassanelli, spiced and fragrant Christmas cookies.


You can store the cupeta at room temperature in a tin box or in an airtight glass container.

You may be interested to read Susumelle biscuits recipe/ Pumpkin and almond cake recipe/ Chocolate Cake without flour recipe/ Risotto with radicchio recipe.

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