Cakes for the day of the dead in Italy: Toscana, Pan Co’ Santi recipe and history

Oct 30, 2018 1073

BY: Silvia Tramatzu

According to tradition, on the occasion of the All Saints Day, Pan co’ Santi is prepared in Siena. It is in fact a Sienese version of the cakes with raisins and dried fruit that are typical of this period – with many variations – throughout Italy. Among them all, Pan co ‘santi distinguishes itself for a marked presence of black pepper and a moderate sweetness. Its preparation, in view of November 1, used to take place on Saturday, the day traditionally assigned to bread-making.

When, on November 1st , 840, Pope Gregory IV officially established All Saints Day, he created a link with the older tradition of the “day of the dead”, the occasion on which the Council of Trent called for fasting. Probably for this reason, popular tradition wanted that the most famous dishes of this period were cakes, to compensate for the sad moment of the commemoration of the dead. 

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