Saturday, July 13 2024

If you pass through Lercara Friddi (the city of Frank Sinatra’s grandparents), a small town in the province of Palermo on your way to Agrigento, you cannot fail to stop.

The opportunity comes in the form of this typical sweet, the pantofola, which is one of the area’s best-known specialties.

So much so that Frank Sinatra used to stop right here to stock up on these little-known delicacies in the rest of Italy.

The pantofola is a confectionery preparation that is commonly baked in the winter months, in the run-up to Christmas and the holidays: a kind of shortbread pastry filled with almonds, dried and candied fruit, as well as pistachios and chocolate chips, usually covered with a glaze.

Let’s see what it’s all about.




Makes about 30 Pantofole



For the shortcrust pastry

  • 2+3/8 cups of wheat flour
  • 1 cup of semolina flour
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup of sweet wine
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla powder
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • 1+3/4 tsp of baking powder



  • 4 cups of peeled almonds (lightly toasted)
  • 1+3/4 cups of superfine sugar
  • 300 ml of water
  • 1 organic orange (only the grated zest)
  • 3/8 cup of candied orange peel
  • 3/8 cup of candied citron
  • 2 tbsp of orange jam



  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 egg white (whipped)
  • 1 organic lemon


I recommend that you prepare the filling the day before you prepare the pantofole.

Chop the already lightly toasted almonds, put them in a pot with the water and sugar, and let them cook.

After 15 minutes and that is almost at the end of cooking, add the grated orange peel.

Let cool and add the candied fruit cut into very small cubes and the orange marmalade.

Let the mixture rest overnight in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

Preparing the shortbread.

In a bowl put the flour, sugar and butter and rub well (sand), add the baking powder, eggs, sweet wine, and knead, if the dough is still too hard add milk a little at a time.

Once you get a nice soft dough, let it rest in the refrigerator for half an hour wrapped in plastic wrap.

Shape the cookies

After 30 minutes have passed, roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a well-floured pastry board; it should be evenly about half an inch thick.

Using a pastry cutter, cut out circles 4 inches in diameter, then place a knob of filling in the center of the dough disks and close, giving the cake an oval shape.

Pinch the two ends of the oval with your fingers to form an “S”,

Place the Pantofole on a baking sheet and bake at 370 F for 15 minutes (preheated oven in static mode), they should just brown.

Preparing the icing

In a bowl put the powdered sugar, grated lemon peel and its juice, and the egg whites previously beaten to stiff peaks.

Start mixing with a spoon until you get a nice glossy frosting.

Spread it generously with a brush on each “slipper” and let it dry well before enjoying them.






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