Panforte is a traditional chewy Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts. It is similar to a florentine but much thicker. Known throughout all Italy, it is a Christmas tradition associated most especially with the province of Siena. Panforte dates back at least to the 13th century, in the Italian region of Tuscany. Documents from 1205, conserved in the State Archive of Siena, attest that bread flavored with pepper and honey (panes melati et pepati) was paid to the local monks and nuns of the monastery of Montecellesi (modern Monte Celso, near Fontebecci) as a tax or tithe which was due on 7 February that year.
Literally, panforte means “strong bread”, derived from the Latin fortis,which refers to the spicy flavour. (from wikipedia)

My friend Eleftheria once told me about this dessert that she makes, panforte, and her description of the chewy texture with fruits and nuts that I love so much, made me want to try it, so she gave me the recipe she had. The one I’m giving you is based on this recipe.

I have read several recipes for panforte and from what I understand there are many variations. Here I’m giving you the basic easy recipe that you can make all year round and it’s kind of or like energy bars that you can take them with you at work or at school. That’s why I’ve made it without any spices to see if it also turns out good and yummy for those who don’t like or can’t handle spices.

At Christmas, however, the panforte must definitely have pepper, as the traditional Italian recipe says. Don’t be afraid and add enough pink pepper that has a very strong aroma with no burning and goes perfectly with the sweet flavors. Also don’t forget cinnamon, cloves and ginger which are very Christmassy scents.

Panforte is traditionally cut into cubes and therefore it would be easier to make it in a rectangular pan, but it is more impressive in a round one and looks like cake and is perfect for your coffee or tea. But with triangle shape, you eat 2 portions straight away which is the most logical because it will drive you crazy.

Impossible to resist to the chewy sweet taste of fruits, to the crunchy of the nuts and to the aroma of spices.


Yields30 ServingsDifficultyBeginner

Prep Time10 minsCook Time40 minsTotal Time50 mins

Tip: Check off the ingredients you have used in the recipe or note the ingredients you have and add the rest to you shopping list to buy them. - Attention: All ingredients  must be checked that are Gluten-Free and without traces of gluten.

 2 cups unsalted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.)
 1 cup dried pitted fruit (apricots, plums, dates, etc.)
 1 cup raisins
 1 ½ cups grated/shredded coconut
 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
 4 tbsp gluten-free pastry flour
 ½ cup honey
 ½ cup apricot jam
 250 g white chocolate couverture
 1 tbsp ground spices such as pink & black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
For decoration
 icing sugar

Abbreviations: g=grams kg= kilograms cup=250 ml tsp= teaspoon=5 ml  tbsp= tablespoon=3 tsp=15 ml ml= millilitre= (1ml=0.034 fl oz / 1fl oz=29.6 ml) l=litre/liter=1000ml

1

Line a 25 cm/ 10” inch diameter pan with parchment paper. You can use a rectangular pan about 20X25 cm / 8”X10” inches which is more convenient for cutting the dessert into cubes.

2

Let the white chocolate couverture melt. I prefer the classic bain-marie method, i.e. a pot over boiling water because it is more controlled. If you want and you are familiar with it, you can also melt it in the microwave. Once I tried it, I burned it and my kitchen smelled for a long time afterwards and I don't want to do that again.

3

Coarsely chop the nuts with a knife. We don't want them ground. Cutting them in large pieces they look more beautiful in the dessert.

4

Coarsely chop the dried fruit as well.

5

In a small bowl, mix the nuts, the dried fruits, the coconut. Sift the flour, cocoa and spices on top and mix well.

6

Pour the honey, the jam and the melted hot white chocolate couverture on top and mix well to bind all the ingredients together.

7

Pour the mixture into the pan and spread it over the entire surface with the help of a spatula or a spoon.

8

Bake at 180°C / 350°F for about 40 minutes.

9

Leave on at the kitchen counter to cool down well.

10

To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into pieces.To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into pieces.

Ingredients

 2 cups unsalted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.)
 1 cup dried pitted fruit (apricots, plums, dates, etc.)
 1 cup raisins
 1 ½ cups grated/shredded coconut
 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
 4 tbsp gluten-free pastry flour
 ½ cup honey
 ½ cup apricot jam
 250 g white chocolate couverture
 1 tbsp ground spices such as pink & black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
For decoration
 icing sugar

Directions

1

Line a 25 cm/ 10” inch diameter pan with parchment paper. You can use a rectangular pan about 20X25 cm / 8”X10” inches which is more convenient for cutting the dessert into cubes.

2

Let the white chocolate couverture melt. I prefer the classic bain-marie method, i.e. a pot over boiling water because it is more controlled. If you want and you are familiar with it, you can also melt it in the microwave. Once I tried it, I burned it and my kitchen smelled for a long time afterwards and I don't want to do that again.

3

Coarsely chop the nuts with a knife. We don't want them ground. Cutting them in large pieces they look more beautiful in the dessert.

4

Coarsely chop the dried fruit as well.

5

In a small bowl, mix the nuts, the dried fruits, the coconut. Sift the flour, cocoa and spices on top and mix well.

6

Pour the honey, the jam and the melted hot white chocolate couverture on top and mix well to bind all the ingredients together.

7

Pour the mixture into the pan and spread it over the entire surface with the help of a spatula or a spoon.

8

Bake at 180°C / 350°F for about 40 minutes.

9

Leave on at the kitchen counter to cool down well.

10

To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into pieces.To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into pieces.

Gluten Free Panforte
  • Because hazelnuts give a very good taste but also looks very nice in this dessert, make sure you have more of them than the rest of the nuts. I also added pine nuts which gave a very nice taste.
  • Instead of icing sugar on top, sprinkle it with grated/shredded coconut which also gives a very nice taste.
  • In the different variations that I read, they put different amounts of the spices. At Christmas, however, the panforte must definitely have pepper, as the traditional Italian recipe says. Don’t be afraid to add enough pink pepper that has a very strong aroma with no burning and goes perfectly with the sweet flavors. Also don’t forget cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger which are Christmassy  scents.
  • I used a round pan but a rectangular pan about 20X25 cm / 8”X10” inches is more convenient to cut the dessert into cubes. The triangle made it easier for me to have 2 servings straight away because I was crazy about this dessert.

Good Luck and Bon Appétit!!!

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