Panforte is a traditional chewy Italian Tuscan dessert loaded with dried fruit and nuts that dates back to 13th century Sienna. I brought back a few wedges from a recent trip to Italy and reproduced a sugar and gluten-free version that makes a lovely Christmas gift wrapped in parchment and twine. A slice with a cup of tea or coffee makes for a nice dessert or a nutrient dense snack out on the trail! I used a mixture of cranberries, raisins, dried pineapple and candied ginger but feel free to come up with your own variations of dried fruit. (2 cups in total) Just make sure you are buying organic and un-sulphured!
Equipment needed: Food Processor, two 8 in. spring form pans
Ingredients: The Base
- 2 cups of soft pitted dates (medjool)
- 2 cups of ground almonds ( you can either process raw or sprouted and dehydrated almonds to a flour or purchase ground almonds)
- 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp. himalayan pink salt
- 3/4 tsp. of nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp. of freshly ground cardamom
- 2 tsp. true cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup of lightly toasted hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
- 1/2 cup dried pineapple
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup of candied orange peel or 1 tsp. of organic orange zest
In a food processor combine the pitted dates with the ground almonds, coconut oil, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Process until a thick but soft batter forms.
Spoon the batter into a mixing bowl and with your hands mix in the coconut flour. The flour will absorb moisture from the batter allowing you to knead it into a smooth ball.
Add the dried fruit and hazelnuts to the batter and work in thoroughly with your hands. Divide it in two.
Line your spring form pans with plastic wrap. Press the dough evenly into the plastic lined pans pressing down with a spoon to smooth it out evenly.
Set aside while you prepare the marzipan.
- 4 cups of ground blanched almonds (you can either buy blanched almonds and grind your own or purchase almond flour)
- 1/2 cup of agave or raw honey (just make sure you use a liquid sweetener without colour)
- 2 tsp. of pure almond extract
In a food processor combine the ground almonds with agave or honey and almond extract to form a play dough like consistency. If it isn’t coming together add a bit more liquid sweetener.
Divide it in two and smooth onto your prepared bases.
Set in the fridge to firm up nicely. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and a sprinkling of coconut flour to resemble powdered sugar. To give as gifts, cut the Panforte into quarters or eighths, wrap in saran wrap and then in unbleached parchment paper and hemp twine.