Panpepato (or pampapato) is a dense, dark, spiced dried fruit and nut cake typical of the city of Ferrara (although similar versions of the treat exist under the same name in Tuscany and Campania). The name panpepato (literally “peppered bread”) is an echo of the large number of spices included in the recipe – unlike most traditional Italian renaissance sweets.
Panpepato (Pope’s bread) is shrouded in legends. Its first recipe dates back to 1600 and originated in the monastery of the town of Ferrara. Using the most valuable ingredients available at the time (nuts, citrus fruits, spices and, especially, the rare luxury cocoa at the time), the nuns created a dome-shaped cake with melted chocolate and named their creation in honor of the Pope.
Due to the large number of spices – natural preservatives, Panpepato is stored for several months and belongs to the category of so-called “strong bread” (panforte), which previously only wealthy people could afford. Spices cost a lot of money then.
To this day, Panpepato remains a special cake for special occasions such as Christmas and New Year. Both holidays are around the corner, so it makes sense to try something new. Join the Italian traditions!
300-350 g of nuts (it is better to mix several of them according to your desire: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts)
100 g of dried fruit (apricots, figs, raisins, cranberries)
50 g of ordinary flour
2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of sea salt
70-100 g of honey
70-100 ml of strong espresso/milk/red wine*
100 g grated cocoa beans/dark chocolate**
- Whatever you choose, the cakes will be different in taste and aroma. And they are incredible!.
- ** You can melt the chocolate and add it to the dough. But according to the classic recipe, Panpepato is glazed with it after the cake has cooled
- Mix cocoa, flour, salt and spices
- Wash the dried fruits and grind them in a blender (just not to the state of puree!)
- It is better to chop the nuts into large pieces
- Combine fruit, nuts and dry mixture in a bowl. Mix everything well, leave for a couple of minutes
- Brew a strong espresso, cool a little, add honey and stir until it melts
- Pour the honey espresso into the nut-fruit mixture and mix well again
- Put in the refrigerator for 15 minutes so that the dough becomes plastic
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, you can grease it a little with oil
- Shape the dough into a round convex bread or cookie of the desired size
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes. The main thing is not to overdry. Panpepato becomes denser after cooling
- Melt the dark chocolate in a steam bath and pour it over the cake
- Leave Panpepato at room temperature until completely cooled