The Testa di Turco, a divine dessert both for the palate and for the history it brings, has become a typical culinary icon of Scicli, the beautiful Baroque city that is one of the gems of the Enjoy Barocco tourist destination. This delicious dessert is closely linked to the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of the Militia, an event that commemorates an epic chapter in local history.
The feast of Our Lady of the Militia, scheduled for the last Saturday in May, celebrates the figure of the warrior Madonna, who, according to legend, fought alongside the Christians against the Saracens back in 1091. Legend has it that the inhabitants of Scicli and the Normans, under the leadership of Roger D’Altavilla, repelled the invaders thanks to the miraculous intervention of Our Lady. This figure thus became the patron saint of the city, and her feast day, which falls at the end of May, is celebrated with great fervor and joy, accompanied by a special culinary delicacy: Turkish Head.
The origin of this dessert is shrouded in legend. The story goes that after their attempted invasion failed, the Turks returned to their lands and, as a sign of surrender or perhaps reconciliation, created a turban-shaped cake filled with ricotta cheese. The Turk’s Head thus became the dessert of the vanquished, a delicious representation of a page of history interwoven with myth and tradition.
While Testa di Turco used to be available only during the time of the feast of Our Lady of the Militia, today it can be found in Scicli bakeries throughout the year. Despite its similarity to an eclair, the dough is very different, with lard replacing butter and giving the cake a unique and distinctive flavor. The dough, once baked, becomes a fragrant turban that is generously filled with ricotta and chocolate chips, creating a combination of flavors that delights the palate.
In addition, there are variations of the Turk’s Head, some with a delicious white cream and chocolate, which add additional flavor nuances to this traditional dessert.
But the celebration of Turk’s Head is not limited only to its consumption. Every year, during the days of the Militia Festival, the Turco Heads Festival is also held. In Piazza Italia, Scicli’s best pastry shops offer the dessert in its traditional version, allowing visitors to enjoy this culinary delicacy in a festive and joyful atmosphere. After enjoying a delicious Turkish Head, you can watch the reenactment of the Battle of the Militia, fully immersing yourself in the historical and culinary atmosphere of Scicli.
Testa di Turco is not just a dessert, but a living testament to Scicli’s rich history and traditions, which continue to delight and unite people through the centuries.

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