Rachel Roddys recipe for Italys traditional Christmas fruit cake, panforte | A Kitchen in Rome

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Try this Sienese strong bread, packed with dried fruit and spice, as an alternative to Christmas cake

They arrived last week: the top of the fridge in the bakery at the bottom of my building now has a cardboard box crown, half containing pandoro, the other half panettone. They are the long-life ones, Angela behind the cash desk reminds me, before unwrapping a sweet: They will last until next June.

I might be dead by June! says a lady paying for a packet of chickpeas. Well, you should wait and buy one of the ones we bake in December, Angela laughed. They wont last until June, and they are better for it.

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