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Nut free Panforte

Panforte is a chewy Italian dessert traditionally containing fruits, seeds and nuts. Its origins date back to the crusaders of the 1096 to 1291 first campaign who it is thought discovered some version of it in Turkey enroute to Jerusaleum.

Confectioners in Siena, Italy however, say that panforte is their creation and that only select ingredients were inspired by Turkish offerings such as Turkish Delight which soldiers brought back to the Tuscany region on their return from the Holy Lands.

The crusading soldiers used panforte in campaigns thereafter as a staple on their long marches as it kept well due to its inclusion of honey, a natural food preservative. There are a number of references to the Christian crusaders carrying panforte, a durable confection, with them on their quests, and that having it as a nutrient dense food source helped them survive long sieges.

Documents from 1205 show that panforte was paid by the monks and nuns of local monasteries as a city tax or tithe which was due on the seventh of February each year. In Siena—which is regarded by many, if not most inhabitants of that city, as the panforte capital of Italy—it is sometimes said that panforte should properly contain seventeen different ingredients, seventeen being the number of contrade (sections) within the city walls.

Currently there are many shops in Italy producing panforte, each recipe being their jealously guarded interpretation of the original confection and packaged in distinctive wrapping. Usually a small wedge is served with coffee or a dessert wine after a meal, though some enjoy it with their coffee at breakfast.

This is a simple recipe to make and you could easily add your own spin to it – different dried fruits, seeds, nuts or spices. We have two versions, one more fruity and chewy and one more seedy and denser. Testers for this recipe love both versions, so the second version is included in the notes in case you would like more choice.

This recipe uses Amore di Mona couverture chocolat speciale, which is rich, luxurious and produces results that are truly amazing. Enjoy the recipe :)

Nut free Panforte


Author: Hana, Nirvana Cakery

Serves: 8" cake


  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds (80g)

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds (80g)

  • dried cherries (80g)

  • 1 cup dried figs, about 7 large figs (130g)

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (70g)

  • 1tsp cinnamon

  • ½tsp cardamom

  • pinch cayenne

  • 1/4 cup rapadura sugar (40g)

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (60ml )

  • 6oz Amore di Mona couverture chocolat speciale (3 cubes) (170g)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320F)

  2. Line the base and sides of 8" spring form round cake tin with baking paper.

  3. Place sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds into a large bowl.

  4. Roughly chop the cherries, slice the figs and add to the bowl with seeds. (You can substitute or add more variations of dried fruits.)

  5. In a small bowl whisk the brown rice flour with cinnamon, cardamom and cayenne and add into the seed fruit mix. Mix well and set aside.

  6. Roughly chop the chocolate, place into a bowl and melt in a double boiler. (Note: If you use a microwave put maple syrup or agave into the chopped chocolate first, stir together, then heat in 15 second bursts, stirring frequently until melted and combined to make a smooth fondant)

  7. In a small pot on a low heat gently warm sugar, maple syrup and 1 tbsp of water just until dissolved, it only takes a minute.

  8. Stir melted chocolate and warmed sugar mix into the dry mix and mix thoroughly. It will be a thick mix.

  9. Spoon the mix into the prepared tin, level out the surface and press the mix tightly down. It takes a bit of time so have patience with it.

  10. Place the tin on top of a baking tray before placing into the oven as it might leak through the base.

  11. Bake for about 35 minutes until the top is set. Once ready the surface will stop being glossy.

  12. Remove from the oven and leave to completely cool down in the tin.

  13. Remove from the tin and with a very sharp knife slice into triangles.

  14. Enjoy!


For more dense seedy texture use 120g (1 cup) sunflower seeds and 80g (1/2 cup) dried figs.

Common Allergen free Panforte

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