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Christmas Snake

Biscione Natalizio
This Christmas sweet is typical of Reggio and was first made at the beginning of the 19th century by a famous pastry maker named Romualdo Nazzani. Today Reggiani can choose from many holiday sweets displayed in the many pastry windows of Reggio but this is the most popular one because it reminds many of their parents and grandparents who enjoyed this holiday tradition.

Serves 8 (or more)


2 1/2 pounds shelled almonds, reduced to a fine texture in a food processor

3 1/2 cups sugar

3 large egg whites

1/2 cup Sassolino or other anise-flavored liquor

Candied fruit or raisins for eyes and mouth 

Colored confetti



Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Mix first four ingredients in a bowl until a dough is formed. You may not need all the liquid.

Shape the dough with oiled hands onto a parchment lined baking sheet and form it into a fanciful snake, curling the tail somewhat and making the head area a bit larger. Make small indentations for the eyes and mouth.

Bake until firm to the touch and not too browned. After baking but while still hot, insert small pieces of candied fruit for the eyes and mouth. Sprinkle with confetti.

Cool completely before removing from the parchment paper.

This recipe is featured on show 2424 - Cooking at the Barilla Academy.


  1. Janice Blaufox's avatar

    Janice Blaufox

    How about a picture of the finished cake?

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