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Italian Oil Cookies – Bisse Degli Ebrei

italin oil cookies

Bissette degli Ebrei on Abate Zanetti Plate

The Bisse, Italian Oil cookies, are one of the most typical sweet treats from the Jewish Ghetto of Venice. They are usually prepared for Passover, but nowadays you can find them in the Ghetto pretty much all year round. They are unleavened Italian oil cookies, with a dry but crumbly consistency, in the shape of a flat S. Their name comes from the word Bissa, which in Venetian means Grass Snake.

This and many more Italian dessert recipes can be learnt during our cooking classes in Venice.

Bisse Degli Ebrei

(original version from “Dolci Ebraici della tradizione veneziana” by Maria Agostini)


italian oil cookies

Bisse degli Ebrei

1 kilo plain flour

500 gr caster sugar

0.25 l. olive oil

grated zest of a lemon

4 eggs


  • Place the flour on a board or in a bowl and make a well in the center.

    italian oil cookies cook in venice

    Ingredients Bisse degli Ebrei

  • Crack the eggs into it and add the lemon zest. Using a fork start mixing the eggs in the flour and add the sugar and the oil a little at time, making sure not to create lumps.
  • Keep mixing until you get a soft and elastic dough. Keep your hands oily.
  • Once the dough is ready turn it into a long thin roll, like the one for gnocchi, of about 2cm diameter.
  • Cut out small sausage of about 10 cm long. Give them an Esse shape and flat them slightly with your fingers.

    italian oil cookies

    Cooking Bisse degli ebrei

  • Place them on a greased or lined baking tray at a distance of about 1 cm from each other. Cook in a preheated static oven at 200 degree Celsius for 15 minutes or until golden.
  • Serve with Zabaion cream.

    italian oil cookies

    Bisse degli Ebrei on Murano Glass plate by Abate Zanetti