pangiallo with saffron glaze

pangaillo with saffron glaze

Rachel Roddy’s wonderful Five Quarters has a gem of a recipe for pangiallo which means “yellow bread” in Italian.  Our fragrant Lebanese saffron creates a glorious sunny glaze for the “cake”, to remind us that spring is just round the corner.

Although pangiallo means “yellow bread” this isn’t a bread, nor is it a cake.But perhaps closest to a panforte – packed with nuts and fruit, beautifully spiced with nutmeg – it’s chewy, crunchy and quite the most delicious thing with a cuppa in the afternoon, or as a rather elegant “sweetmeat” alongside coffee at the end of a meal.

Pangiallo has roots in ancient Rome, and is said to mark the winter solstice, the end of the long winter days, the saffron glaze evoking the sun, heralding the arrival of warmer days.

Zejd’s saffron – 3 strands is all you need – provides a glorious colour in this unusual glaze.Therecipe is a wonderful way of using up any lingering Christmas nuts and left-over candied peel.Feel free to choose any vine fruit, just make sure you really do grate 1/2 a nutmeg – time well spent.

Thanks to Rachel Roddy for allowing this adaptation of her recipe from Five Quarters.

makes 2 small cakes about 8-10 slices


100g sultanas
100g dried figs
150g candied fruit or chopped peel
200g mixed nuts, such as almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts and walnuts, roughly chopped
100g plain flours
1/2 whole nutmeg, grated
a pinch of cinnamon
1/2tsp black petter
150g honey
80g icing sugar

for the saffron glaze
a few threads of Zejd’s saffron
2 tablespoons of hot water
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp icing sugar


  1. Begin by placing the saffron in a small bowl and infusing with the hot water while you get on with the rest of the recipe.
  2. Soak the sultanas (or other vine fruit) in a little hot water for 10 minutes to plump them up a bit.
  3. Chop the figs into eighths and dice the candied fruit if in larger pieces.
  4. Once the sultanas are plump, drain and squeeze any excess water.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together all the dried fruit and nuts, then add the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper.Stir well so that everything is well coated.
  6. Preheat the oven 170 C/ 150 C fan/gas mark 3.Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  7. In a small pan, warm the honey with a tablespoon of water and add the icing sugar stirring until it bubbles at the side of the pan.
  8. Pour this over the nut mixture in the bowl and stir until well combined and there are no traces of flour.
  9. Divide in half, and form into 2 round shapes approximately 3cm deep and 15cm wide. Place on the prepared baking tray.
  10. Make the glaze by adding the saffron with its water to the egg yolks, flour and icing sugar. Beat until the mixture is smooth. Using a pastry brush, dab the mixture on to the tops of the cakes. Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm and golden at the edges and the topping is a wonderful yellow. Leave to cool before slicing into smallish pieces.
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