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Ricciarelli: the recipe for the typical Christmas cakes of Siena

Ricciarelli and Vin Santo_Fattoria del Colle

Ricciarelli: the recipe for the typical Christmas cakes of Siena

The home made freshly baked ricciarello is the nicest cake in the world. It has a taste of Tuscany, of Christmas, of local traditions and affection

Nothing at all to do with the commercial ones!

 Ricciarelli and Vin Santo_Fattoria del Colle

Ricciarelli and Vin Santo_Fattoria del Colle

Traditional, easy and fragrant, it helps you rediscover the pleasure of almond paste. The ricciarello is the Sienese Christmas cake and since 2010 it is a product protected with the IGP certification. A traditional delicacy from as far back as man can remember. It seems that the oldest recipe is a document in a convent in Buonconvento  20 km from Fattoria del Colle. Its name has a legendary source and come s from the Crociato Ricciardetto della Gherardesca who it seems brought the recipe from theMiddle East. However the word ricciarello appears only in the 19th century so centuries and centuries after the crusades. Most surely the use of almond paste came about in the houses of the rich Sienese bankers from the southern part of theMediterranean, prior to the 15th century, because from that era one was served  “marzapani alla costuma senese” or “morzelletti” probably prepared in convents.

The most appropriate wine for this very Sienese delicacy is the Vin Santo, the most traditional dessert wine in Tuscany. Want some proof? Come to Fattoria del Colle and you will find both!

Read the recipe below!

Ricciarelli_almonds_Fattoria del Colle

Ricciarelli_almonds_Fattoria del Colle


300g of Sicilian almonds and  2-3 bitter almonds,300 gof caster sugar, a little icing sugar, 1 sachet of vanilla, the rind of half an orange, two egg whites, large hosts


Scald the almonds in boiling water, peels them, toast them in the oven, add the sugar, then blend with the mixer. Those with less time can buy almond flour.  Blend the mixture with the vanilla and the grated orange peel. Mix well until the mixture is nice and smooth. Beat the egg whites until firm and add them slowly to the mixture until it gets to the consistency of pastry. Sprinkle the table with the icing sugar and put the mixture on top, divided into small portions shaped by hand into small diamond shapes. Put them on top the hosts and leave to rest for a few hours, then bake in the oven at140°C for ten minutes. As soon as they begin to colour they must be removed form the oven. When the ricciarelli are cool, remove the exceeding host around the edges and dust with abundant icing sugar. Keep in a sealed glass container.

They are delicious freshly baked when the almond fragrance is stronger after a couple of days they start to dry and are not so special.

Advise for gluttons by Donatella Cinelli Colombini


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