The Pan’e Saba, the typical Sardinian Christmas cake

Days that anticipate the party, traditions to be recalled, days that lead us to the great mysteries of our history, this time of year is not ‘just’ this but, like every special moment that respects in this magnificent land of ours, is characterized by a characteristic dish, often from a dessert.

And what moment, if not Christmas and the rebirth of the sun, is more conducive to prepare the typical Sardinian sweets to offer during the holidays?

Today we want to talk about the Pan’e Saba, the Saba Bread also called Sapa, un a sweet baked in the oven, winter for its ingredients that recall the heat of the fire, the fragrances that this season brings with it, like cinnamon and dried fruit of various kinds.

The origins of the name are lost in time, like so many of our traditions on the other; evidently it is the fruit of the ingenuity of our ancestors who, to offer a dessert at the end of the meal, added to the bread dough the saba, a a grape syrup that is obtained by boiling the must ready, and enriched with other seasonal products.

In fact, each area of ​​Sardinia has its own recipe of Pan’e Saba, as were added the typical products of the place that could be nuts, or hazelnuts, raisins, pine nuts, figs, orange and aniseed.

But here is the ‘basic’ recipe of Pan’e Saba!


  • 500 g of flour
  • About 350 ml of Sapa
  • 200 g of pine nuts
  • 150 g of peeled walnuts
  • 200 g of raisins
  • 100 g of peeled almonds
  • 25 g of brewer’s yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Marsala liqueur q.b.
  • Little warm water to dissolve the yeast
  • Sapa to brush


  1. Melt the yeast in lukewarm water and put the raisin in the marsala to soften it.
  2. Sift the flour and add the yeast, in the meantime chop the dried fruit.
  3. Add the sapa, knead adding the raisins, dried fruit, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Work until a soft and uniform dough is obtained and leave to rest for two hours covered with a cloth and a wool cloth.
  5. After two hours of waiting, divide the dough into small cakes and leave to rise for the whole night. The surface must be taut, smooth and the cakes increase by at least twice.
  6. The next morning, cook in the already hot oven (200 °) for about an hour.
  7. Once the loaves are cooked, brush them still warm with other sapa and decorate them with almonds, colored sugar and sugar tails.

A goodness to try! Follow the recipe and amaze your guests … or, what if we organize a tour of Sardinian bread in all its salty and sweet declinations?!