According to the Milanese tradition, this typical sweet bread should be eaten during the Day of the Dead in memory of the departed loved ones. The popular tradition tells that this nutritious and tasty dessert, Pan dei morti, was baked and eaten together with the whole family to honour the dead relatives, as if they were taking part to the meal as well. This soft sweet bread used to be baked only at home, but nowadays it can be found in many bakeries of Lombardy. It is an example of the genuine taste and traditional nature that characterise Lombardy’s products.
Pan dei morti
Pan dei Morti (Day of the Dead Bread)
Ingredients – serves 4
  • 250g flour
  • 100g raisins
  • 450g dry biscuits
  • a fistful of dried almonds
  • 1/2 glass of sweet white wine (passito)
  • 100g dried figs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 30g powdered sugar

If stored in a closed container (better if hermetically sealed), Pan dei morti will keep for up to 7 days. Let your imagination roam and create your own version of this recipe: try adding different types of nuts or other spices and flavourings.

How to bake Pan dei morti – traditional method

  • Soak raisins in water until soft, then squeeze out the excess water.
  • Crush the biscuits. Peel the almonds and chop them finely with figs and other nuts (optional).
  • Mix flour, baking soda and cinnamon, then add the raisins and the chopped almonds.
  • BBeat the egg whites to stiff peaks and add them to the other ingredients, mixing well. Pour in ½ glass of white wine and keep on mixing until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Let the dough sit under a cloth for 40 mins. If clumps have formed in the meantime, add some water and sugar and mix well. When the dough is uniform, divide it in two parts and give them a flattened shape. Place on a buttered baking pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 180° and bake the sweet bread for at least 45 minutes, until soft on the inside but with a slightly crisp surface.
  • Serve warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.