Italian Pan Spezialе

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Certosino di Bologna or Pan spezialе is a widespread cake in Bologna. It is packed with sugar, fruits, and nuts. If you have time, you are welcome to soak the dried mixed fruits the night before in some brandy and proceed with the recipe the next day.


  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup bitter chocolate
  • 1/2 cup light raisins
  • 1/3 cup peeled almonds and pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup candied lemon peels
  • 2 tsp anise seed (optionally)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 340° F (170° C). Butter a baking dish. Dust with flour.
  2. Treat raisins with boiling water. Dry them.
  3. Cut candied fruits into raisin-sized pieces.
  4. Fry almonds and pine nuts in a dry pan for 2 minutes. Chop them roughly.
  5. Chop chocolate.
  6. Grind anise lightly in a mortar. Mix with warmed honey and sugar. Add salt, baking soda and 1 cup of boiling water, stir until smooth. Add flour gradually and stir constantly.
  7. Add candied fruits, chocolate, almonds, pine nuts and raisins. Stir in baking powder. Knead thoroughly.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.
  9. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving and decorate as you wish.