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Cooking + Entertaining

Salty Danube: the recipe for the rustic sweet of the Neapolitan tradition

Salty Danube: the recipe for the rustic sweet of the Neapolitan tradition

He Danube saltAlso known as pinch the cakeis a soft and tasty savory tart, a rustic typical of Neapolitan tradition composed of several brioche dough balls which stick during cooking but come off very easily. Unlike the sweet version, the salty danube is traditionally stuffed with ham and cheesealthough the filling may vary according to your tastes.

Essential in Neapolitan takeaways, this savory brioche is prepared above all on the occasion of parties like Christmas and Easter, but it is also perfect for serving as antipasti for a buffet or a birthday party. Easy to carry, it’s also a great solution for picnics and out-of-town outings.

In addition to the irresistible aroma given by mixture of grated orange zest and honey which is added to the dough during preparation, what characterizes the danube is its extreme sweetness: once out of the oven it looks like a single savory pie, but the balls can be separated simply by hand, without the need for cutlery . This is exactly where the name “pinch cake” by which it is also known comes from: indeed, a pinch is enough to detach its ball which, bitten, reveals a stringy stuffing and tasty, in our case cooked ham and Emmental cheese.

It’s about a simple recipewhich can be done by hand or using a planetary mixer, but the preparation is quite long: for a perfect result, in fact, several hours of riseincluding those of Yeast, which slightly lengthens the time but on the other hand ensures an even softer and more digestible rustic. The infusion based on orange and honey must then rest overnight in the refrigerator before being added to the dough, in order to release all its fragrance.

Find out how to make salted danube by following the step-by-step procedure and tips. For a traditional feast, serve it with other typical dishes of Campanian cuisine such as escarole pizza, tortano, casatiello and rustic babà: you will leave everyone speechless.

How to prepare Salt Danube

The day before starting the preparation of the salted Danube, mix the grated zest of an orange and the honey in a small bowl 1then cover with transparent film and leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, start by preparing the yeast: pour the crumbled yeast, 95 g of flour, 50 g of water and 50 g of milk taken from the total in the bowl of a planetary mixer 2.

Mix with a wooden spoon until you get a fairly thick paste. 3.

Cover with transparent film and leave to rest in the oven turned off with the light on for 60 minutes 4.

Then add the rest of the flour, milk and water to the yeast as well as the sugar and salt 5.

Also pour the orange infusion 6.

Activate the planetary mixer and work at medium speed for a few minutes, occasionally loosening the dough with your hands to facilitate rolling 7.

As soon as the liquid ingredients are mixed, add the butter cut into small pieces 8 and keep working to incorporate it into the rest.

At this point, cover the bowl with cling film 9 and let rise for 4 hours in the oven turned off with the light on.

After this time the dough should have tripled in volume. ten.

Transfer it to a work surface and make several regular balls of about 60 gr each 11. With these doses you will get about 20 balls.

Press each ball in the center and stuff it with strips of ham and chopped cheese 12.

Close it by pulling the side flaps towards the center and overlap them with light pressure 13.

Roll the ball on the closing side on the work surface, in order to obtain a smooth surface 14.

When they are ready, place the balls in a lightly buttered 28 cm round mold, taking care to leave a few millimeters between them. 15.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise one last time, this will take about 2 hours 16.

Separately, beat a yolk with a drop of milk and use it to brush the surface of the danube 17.

Then bake in a static oven at 180°C for 30 minutes 18. If it gets too dark during cooking, cover it with aluminum foil.

When the surface is golden, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. 19.

Your salted danube is ready: transfer it to a serving platter and serve 20.


Instead of the fee, you can use the dry brewer’s yeast: for this amount of flour you will need 4 grams.

You can stuff the salted danube as you prefer: if you want to respect the tradition that it is stuffed with charcuterie and cheeses try it with speck, cured ham or mortadella with fontina, gruyere or your favorite cheese. Alternatively, do a vegetarian stuffing with zucchini and scamorza cheese. You can also experiment with a mixed stuffingby filling each ball in a different way, or opt for a tuna or olive pâté.

If you like them, after brushing them with egg yolk, enrich the surface with sesame, poppy or mixed seeds.


The salted danube can be stored at room temperature, covered with transparent film or inside a food bag, for maximum 2-3 days. When it is very cold, it can also be frozen: just let it thaw in the refrigerator and heat it up for a few seconds in the microwave to make it just as freshly prepared.

Curiosity: what is the origin of the salty Danube?

Although it is a typical Neapolitan recipe, the origin of the Salted Danube is linked to the culinary tradition of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Austria above all, where the river from which it takes its name flows. . Although it is not known with certainty who invented the danube, in fact there are two most accredited hypotheses: the first is that it was designed by the Neapolitan pastry chef Giovanni Scaturchio, married to a woman from Salzburg, while that the second traces its creation to the time of the Bourbons, when the kingdom of Naples was governed by Ferdinand I and Marie-Caroline de Habsbourg-Lorraine, of Austrian origin.

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