an italian summer: panpepato


we’re off on holiday to italy next month and somehow i think i’m already there. i keep indulging in baking sessions for random italian biscuits and other sweet fancies. today’s delight was panpepato which, according to the recipe i found, is a darker version of panforte.

panforte is one of david’s christmas favourites but the panpepato , despite it’s similarities and wonderful xmassy flavours, is just fine on a bright summer afternoon, washed down with some wonderful tokaji and shared with friends.

and, having been made with brockwell park honey, which is made from bees who live just down the road from me in south london, despite its italian roots this pudding is a local food of sorts. at least i hope so as this is my submission to johanna’s sugar high friday which has the theme of “something local.”

panpepato* biscuits for 6-8

if stored in an airtight tin this will keep for a month.

edible paper (i used potato paper, rice paper is also fine)

100g walnut pieces

100g whole blanched hazelnuts

100g blanched almonds

200g mixed peel or candied citrus peel, chopped

50g plain flour

4 tbsp cocoa powder

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground coriander

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

100g caster sugar

225g runny honey

25g unsalted butter

icing sugar, for dredging

preheat the oven to 180°c.

lightly butter an 18cm-square loose-bottomed tin (my tine was 23cm which was fine) and line the base and sides with edible paper. bake the nuts on a tray for 12-15 minutes till golden brown. cool, then roughly chop and transfer into a bowl with the peel and sift in the flour, cocoa and spices. turn the oven down to 150°c

put the sugar, honey, and butter in a saucepan and gently heat, stirring till dissolved. bring to the boil and boil until it reaches the 'soft ball' stage (113°c-118°c on a sugar thermometer). to test this, you can also scoop some out on a spoon and drop into a jug of water: it should go into a soft ball. stir in the nut mixture, pour into the tin and smooth the surface. bake for 35-40 minutes.

remove from the oven and leave to firm up in the tin on a cooling rack. remove the tin, trim the paper, sieve over some icing sugar and cut into slices or cubes.

*recipe adapted from