Traditionally Panforte is filled with dried figs and roasted nuts and set in a rich chocolate and chewy caramel. It’s a Christmas treat to-die-for and this Gluten Free Panforte is no exception!
This recipe is based on that of my favourite food magazine, Gourmet Traveller. Check out the conventional version of this traditional Italian Christmas recipe here, although you will find it’s very similar anywhere you look.
I’ve rejigged the recipe to make it gluten-free and free of high-fructose honey and cane-sugar too.
A summary of what I’ve changed is as follows:
- Plain wheat flour with coconut flour (grain free and paelo-friendly!)
- Cane sugar with coconut sugar (much lower GI)
- Honey with rice malt syrup (low fructose and IQS friendly)
- Store-bought dark chocolate with my own homemade Dark Cooking Chocolate (see previous post) (completely gluten, dairy & sugar-free)*
- Icing-sugar with coconut flour for dusting (sugar free, grain free and paleo-friendly!)
*FYI: You don’t HAVE to make your own dark chocolate, that’s just me being pedantic and wanting to make this dish completely from scratch. That said, it’s easy and worth doing if you have a spare 5-10 minutes!
Before we get started – 1 key tip!
As mentioned at the top, this amazing dessert is held together with a chewy caramel. This means sugar, syrup and water are melted and to achieve this without the caramel setting and being difficult to scrape from the bowl to cake tin, it’s essential that you MOVE FAST through steps 6 and 7.
- 20cm round cake tin (springform is best)
- Mixing bowl
- Flour sifter or sieve
- Small saucepan
- Sugar thermometer (cheap to buy, but you can get away without it)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (or other GF flour or nut meal)
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 120g hazelnuts, dry roasted*
- 110g almonds, dry roasted*
- 1 cup (10 large) dried figs, torn once or twice each
- 60g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (see recipe here)
- zest of 1 orange, finely grated
- 150g coconut sugar
- 150g rice malt syrup
- 1 tbsp water
*Dry roast hazelnuts and almonds together by placing them on a tray lined with baking paper and baking for 15 minutes at 160C. Once cooled, use a tea towel to rub the hazelnuts to remove the skins.
- Preheat a fan-forced oven to 160C.
- Grease a 20cm round cake tin, line the base with baking paper and set aside.
- Sift the Dry Filling into a mixing bowl.
- Add all Other Filling ingredients, mix to combine and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, add the caramel ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a light boil and wait until the temperate reaches 115C on a sugar thermometer.*
- Move quickly to then pour the hot caramel into the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Scrape and flatten the mixture into the cake tin, spreading to the sides. (It’s handy to use a spare sheet of baking paper to help press down on the mixture without it sticking to your hands or spatula).
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, dust with extra coconut flour and slice ready to serve.
*Don’t have Sugar Thermometer? – Bring to the boil and remove immediately once caramel reaches ‘balling’ point – when it forms a little solid ball when you place a drop in cool water.
Store in an airtight container either on the bench or in the fridge.
This Panforte perfect on it’s own, or with a dessert wine!