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Recipe: the Befana, the traditional Epiphany biscuit from the village of Barga

Friday 04 january 2019

Prepared according to an ancient recipe, Befana is the traditional biscuit from the village of Barga to celebrate the epiphany with family or friends

Recipe: the Befana, the traditional Epiphany biscuit from the village of Barga

In the village of Barga it is tradition for the Epiphany to prepare a particular dry biscuit called, in fact, the "Befana", or the befanini. In this Tuscan village, where the festivity is particularly felt and celebrated since the eve, the folk figure of the Befana riding her broom, dispenses gifts from his jute sack, starting from her wooden house in Pegnana, until she gets in the historic center acclaimed by hundreds of children dressed as "befanotto". Among traditional songs, games and festivities, a local delicacy could not be missing in the whole Valle del Serchio. Even today, as in the past, for the feast of the Epiphany, families prepare the "Befana" on the eve of the event. This dry biscuit is not only beautiful to see but also very tasty to eat.


For the biscuit:

  • flour 1 kg
  • sugar 700 gr
  • butter 250 gr
  • 6 eggs (of which 1 egg white and a half for marzipan)
  • yeast
  • grated lemon and orange peel

For marzipan:

  • toasted and chopped almonds 300 gr
  • sugar 280 gr
  • 1 egg white and a half of egg
  • grated lemon and orange peel
  • alchèrmes, rum, pebble and cognac


Lets begin by preparing the dough of the biscuits by adding the butter, which we left at room temperature, with the other ingredients, working to obtain a homogeneous dough and that we will let rest in the fridge for 10/12 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the marzipan joining all the ingredients, mixing them until you get a consistent but not too soft mixture.
Once the biscuit dough has rested enough, roll it out with a rolling pin and make cookies of various shapes that we will "pinch" (with metal tweezers) on the outside of the biscuit leaving space in the center to put the marzipan. Above we are going to make some decorations of leaflets obtained with the biscuit dough. Let the befanini rest for about a day, then bake at 180 degrees. Once removed from the oven, sprinkle the cookies with icing sugar and let them cool.

Photo by Photo Katia Adami - from the Giornale di Barga

... good appetite and good Epiphany!

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