Last updated on February 23rd, 2024.

If you have a sweet tooth and an inclination to try delicious treats from around the world, you must add Maritozzo to your list of must-try desserts. Hailing from Italy, Maritozzo is a delightful cream-filled brioche bun that will transport your taste buds to a world of pure indulgence.

maritozzo buns filled with cream

What is Maritozzo?

Maritozzo is a traditional Italian pastry famous in central Italy, especially in Rome and its surrounding regions. This sweet Italian bun is a soft, slightly sweet brioche bun typically filled with whipped cream. Just like this Ciambellone Breakfast cake, it can be part of your breakfast or afternoon treat.

The name “maritozzo” comes from the Italian word “Mrito” husband, and it was the tradition for men to present their future wives with a hidden engagement ring hidden in the cream.

While Zeppole, Pignoli Cookies, and Bignè di San Giuseppe are associated with Southern Italy and Torta Della Nonna is associated with Tuscany, Maritozzi buns are traditional sweet pastries associated with Rome. Still, their preparation can vary across different regions and even within local bakeries. Here are a few notable variations:

  1. Traditional Roman Maritozzo (also called Maritozzi con la panna). The classic maritozzo from Rome is a sweet, yeast-leavened bun filled with whipped cream. It’s often enjoyed as a breakfast or snack.
  2. Maritozzo con Il Pecorino. In some regions, especially the Lazio region which is also associated with Cornetti, the maritozzo is sliced and filled with pecorino cheese instead of whipped cream. This creates a sweet and savory contrast.
  3. Maritozzo con L’Uvetta. This variation incorporates raisins or currants into the dough, adding a fruity sweetness to the bun. The filling could still be whipped cream or other alternatives.

Ingredients

For the Brioche Dough

  • All-purpose flour or a combination of AP flour and bread flour.
  • Granulated sugar
  •  Salt
  • Dry milk powder. The powder will give flavor and high volume to the buns.
  • Instant yeast
  • Warm milk or water
  • Eggs 
  • Olive oil. Unlike traditional Brioche bread, these sweet buns are made with high-quality olive oil. Use a brand you like, or replace it with canola oil or soft unsalted butter. You can also use the traditional Brioche Dough for this recipe.
  • Citrus zest. Lemon zest, orange zest, or a combination of the two.
  • Unsalted soft butter, cut into one-inch pieces

For the Filling

  • Heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Topping options: ground nuts, chocolate curls, mini chocolate chips, and fresh berries.
  • Optional: add one tablespoon of Brown milk powder to enrich the cream flavor and give deep brown butter notes.
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
ingredients to make sweet italian buns

How to Make Maritozzo, Italian Cream Buns

Make the Brioche Dough

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour, sugar, salt, dry milk powder, zest, and yeast and mix on low speed to blend.
  2. Mix the eggs, water, and oil until you have a shaggy mass.
  3. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment, and mix it on medium-low speed while you add the oil one tablespoon at a time.
  4. Increase to medium speed, and continue mixing until the sides and bottom of the bowl are clean and you have a smooth ball of dough that stretches easily without tearing. This should take about 7-10 minutes.
  5. Cover the dough with a tea towel or a plastic bag, and set it in a warm place to rest for two hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
how to make dough for Maritozzi

Shape the Brioche Buns

  1. Gently punch the dough down and over a clean work surface, divide it into equal pieces, shaping each one into a round dough ball.
  2. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving some space between each bun, brush with an egg wash, and let the buns rise for another 60-75 minutes in a warm spot.
  3. Bake.
how to shape dough buns

Make the Filling

  1. Whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar (brown milk powder if using), and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. 
making whipped cream

Assemble

  1. Once the buns are completely cool, use a serrated knife to slice them from the top vertically as if you want to cut them in half, but not all through.
  2. Fill the center with the whipped cream half full, dot with two-three raspberries (or other berries), and top with more cream. Use a small spatula to smooth the top.
  3. Dust with powdered sugar.
How to fill maritozzo bun

Tips

maritozzi buns filled with cream

Storing

Maritozzo is best when consumed fresh. However, if you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Consume them within a day or two for the best taste and texture.

Unfilled uns, can be wrapped with plastic wrap, inside a plastic freeze bag, and frozen for up to 4 weeks.

FAQ’S

Can I use a different type of flour for the brioche dough? 

While all-purpose flour works well for this recipe, you can experiment with bread flour or a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour for variations in texture and flavor.

How can I incorporate pine nuts into the dough?

After mixing the dough, gently Flatten it slightly and sprinkle 1/2 cup of pine nuts evenly over the surface before allowing it to rest. Fold the dough over the pine nuts and continue to knead gently until the pine nuts are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and allow to rest.

Is Maritozzo the same as Maritozzi?

Yes. Maritozzo is singular, and Maritozzi is plural.

Is Maritozzi the same as Semlor?

It is very similar, but Semlor is a cardamom bun filled with almond paste and topped with cream.

Sliced maritozzo with whipped cream and raspberries

More recipes you might enjoy

Chocolate Brioche, Bavarian Cream Doughnuts, Pain Aux Raisins

Don’t forget to leave a comment and tag me on Instagram when you make one of my recipes.

Maritozzo Recipe

A slightly sweet zesty Italian buns filled with cream

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Maritozzo
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 15 Buns
Author Dikla

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 4 Cups Unbleached all-purpose flour (500g)
  • 2 teaspoons Instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar (70g)
  • 1/4 Cup Dry milk powder (25g)
  • 2 teaspoons Packed, lemon or orange zest
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup Whole milk, warm (180ml)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive oil (60ml)

For the cream

  • 2 Cups Heavy whipping cream (480ml)
  • 2 tablespoons Powdered sugar (20g)
  • 1 tablespoom Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (15ml)
  • 1 Cup Cut fresh fruit, or berries Optional
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

Make The Dough

  1. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour, milk powder yeast, and salt. Rub the sugar with the zest then add it to the flour. Mix on low to blend.

  2. Increase speed to medium, add the eggs and milk, and mix until you have a shaggy mass.

  3. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and mix on medium-high speed while adding the oil one tablespoon at a time. This should table about 5-7 minutes.

  4. Place the dough in a light oil bowl, spray the top with oil spray, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest until double in size, or overnight in the refrigerator.

  5. Punch the dough to release the air, and divide it into 15 equal pieces (each should be about 65g, 2oz.

  6. Roll each piece into a ball, or shape it into an oval and place it over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  7. Brush with an egg wash and set aside for about 60-75 minutes to double in size.

  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the internal temperature is 180F. Remove from the oven to cool before filling

Make the cream

  1. Pour the cream, sugar, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl.

  2. Use a stand mixer or a hand mixer to whip the cream starting with the lowest speed and gradually increasing to high whipping to a stiff peak.

Assembling

  1. Use a serrated knife to slice the buns at the center (either from the top or side) but not all the way.

  2. Fill each roll halfway with the cream then dot with some fresh fruit if using.

Recipe Notes

  • If you plan to refrigerate the dough overnight, reduce the yeast amount to 1 1/2 teaspoons, and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for one hour before refrigerating.
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