“Panpepato is rumored to have strong aphrodisiac qualities and has the ability to stop couples from arguing, two very good reasons to give it a try this holiday season.” True or not, this Italian fruit cake is far from any fruit cake I’ve tried. Somewhere between a cake and fudge, you will find this deliciously rich. Trust me, your dentist will thank you. Thank you, David Lebovitz for this recipe.
- 5 tablespoons (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process or natural)
- 2 1/2 cups (325g) nuts; any mix of walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, toasted and very coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup (110g) flour
- 1 cup (200g) chopped candied citron or another candied citrus
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
- 3 ounces (85g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 3/4 cup (210g) honey
- extra cocoa powder, for dusting the pan
- powdered sugar, for dusting the panforte
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF (162ºC.)
- Line the bottom of a 9- to 10-inch (22-23cm) springform pan with parchment paper. Spray the pan with nonstick spray and dust the inside with cocoa powder, making sure to get it up the sides.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, nuts, flour, candied citrus, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg, and red chile powder.
- Melt the chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir it into the nut mixture.
- In a pan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the sugar and honey until the temperature reads 240ºF (115ºC.)
- Pour the hot honey syrup over the nut mixture and stir well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. I start by using a spatula and as the mixture cools, once it’s cool enough to touch, I use a dampened hand to get it flat.
- Bake the panforte for 35 – 40 minutes; the center will feel soft, like just-baked custard, and if you touch it, your finger will come away clean when it’s done. Let the panforte cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan. Remove the springform carefully (sticky edges might tear, so keep an eye out), then let cool completely.
- Once cool, remove the bottom of the springform pan and peel away the parchment paper. Sprinkle the panforte with powdered sugar and rub it in with your hands.