PETRAFENNULA also called PETRAMENNULA, a Sicilian sweet with possible Arabic origins


Shelves are being stacked with Christmas sweet goodies at Dolcetti. There will be plenty more delectable and interesting sweets to come. Many of her sweets will have Sicilian origins.

IMG_2476-800x598Dolcetti is now open from Wednesday to Sunday in December

One of the things that I really like about Marianna (the pastry chef and owner of Dolcetti) is that she is willing to make new sweets and be creative; I like trying new things. Today I was offered a taste of this:


I liked it and I hope that she will go ahead with adding this sweet to her range of Christmas goodies. She may experiment with it more before she is satisfied with it.

I have written about petrafennula, (also called petramennula depending on the Sicilian locality) a very long time ago in an earlier post called Arabs in Sicily, Some Sweets, Petrafennula. It is a Sicilian version of Croccante (brittle) or a Torrone.

It is a Christmas sweet like cubbaita or giuggiulena/ jujiulena (can be spelled different ways).

My recipe is made with almonds. Hers may not be called Petrafennula; there are many variations for making this sweet.
Marianna has used a selection of nuts: hazelnuts, pistachio, almonds and sultanas in hers – great stuff.

Arabs in Sicily, Some Sweets – Petrafennula

PETRAFENNULA – PIETRA DI MIELE (Rock made of honey).

honey 1kg,
almonds, 500g blanched and roughly chopped into large pieces
candied orange peel, 400 g chopped finely,
cinnamon, ½ teaspoon (optional).

Place the honey in a saucepan.
Add the peel.
Allow the mixture to simmer gently and stir from time to time until it begins to solidify.
Take the mixture off the stove and work quickly
Add the almonds and the cinnamon and stir gently to incorporate.
Pour the mixture on to baking paper placed on a cold surface – such as a marble slab or a baking tray (traditionally this is done without paper on an oiled marble slab).
Break it into pieces when it is cold. When my mother made this, she sometimes used to drop dollops of the mixture (about a tablespoon in size) on to a cold surface to form small odd shapes – more like pebbles than sharp rocks. This seemed easier than shaping it into one large slab, which then needs to be broken into smaller pieces.


I have been writing for a long time and there are plenty of Christmas sweet recipes on this blog.

Giuggiulena (also Cubbaita) – A Brittle Sicilian Toffee of Sugar and Honey with Sesame Seeds and Almonds

Christmas at Dolcetti in 2014 (and Recipe for Spicchiteddi – Sicilian Biscuits)

Christmas Dolci and Dolcetti and Pistachio Shortbread Biscuits 2013


Panettone and Panforte for an Italian Christmas

Sicilian Cassata and Some Background (perfect for an Australian Christmas)

I will visit Dolcetti once again and soon.

2 thoughts on “PETRAFENNULA also called PETRAMENNULA, a Sicilian sweet with possible Arabic origins”

  1. I have been making Petrafunulla for years. Thought about a using honey instead of sugar. I was shown using sugar, but thought honey would work well. It makes a great treat to bring to someone’s house for the holidays. Thank you for showing me the way.
    Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Joyious New Year. Lorraine

    1. Thank you for the Christmas greetings.
      You could try 1/3 of sugar and 2/3 honey. A friend of mine found that when she used 100% honey her pertofunulli did not set as hard as she wanted it to but the next time she made it with 100% honey it did set. It all depends on how liquid the honey is….. honey has different densities. It is a bit like flour, sometimes when using flour in making a dough it may require less or more water than the last time you made a dough.
      And Buon Natale to you.

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