This is a super quick and easy recipe for a no-bake panforte (like a no-bake Christmas cake) that makes the perfect festive treat you can whip up in a matter of minutes.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This easy panforte recipe involves no actual baking so is easy and cheap to make.
- Panforte brings you a bit of Italian tradition to brighten up the holidays
- Like any panforte this keeps for up to 2 months, so it makes a great addition to your Christmas hampers and as a hostess gift too
- This is basically a no-bake Christmas cake so super quick and easy for anyone wanting to make their own Christmas cake but without any fuss or even having to open the oven.
What is panforte?
Panforte is a classic Italian dessert that dates way back to the 13th century and hails from Siena in Tuscany.
The name panforte translates from Italian to ‘strong bread’ and originally it was a hard peppery bread like cake that was used as a tax payment to the monks at the monasteries in Siena.
The original dessert was composed of wheat flour, honey, spices, dried figs, jam, pine nuts and was flavoured with pepper.
Panforte is like an Italian Christmas cake and is sold all over Italy at Christmas time. It makes a great foodie gift and I’ve featured this recipe in my new Foodie Gifts For Christmas Book 2.
Ingredients for panforte
Like the traditional panforte of old, my no-bake panforte recipe contains the classic ingredients of mixed dried fruit, honey and nuts as well as flour of course.
I’ve added in candied peel and instead of the pine nuts used in the original panforte recipes I have used a mixture of nuts – almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and walnuts.
Spices – these are all-important in any panforte recipe. Instead of using a whole host of different spices in small measurements I have opted for keeping things simple in my no-bake panforte recipe and used ground mixed spice (often called apple pie spice blend in USA) plus some ground cardamom.
Other ingredients – sugar, sherry and edible wafer paper. Though the latter is purely optional but how panforte is sold in shops in Italy.
Make this a vegan no-bake Christmas cake by swapping out the honey for maple syrup.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make no-bake panforte
Making this no-bake Christmas cake couldn’t be easier.
First things first – toast those nuts. The reason for doing this is to really release their wonderful nutty flavours.
When you are toasting nuts do it on a dry pan and it will literally only take about a minute. This is not the time to answer your phone or nip to the loo.
Watch those nuts like a hawk and the minute they release that gorgeous nutty aroma and start to turn golden tip them out of the pan.
Blitz the mixed dried fruit in a food processor along with the sherry, honey, sugar and spices.
Now boil this up in a pan for about 6 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour, mixed peel and those nuts you toasted earlier.
Spoon the panforte mixture into a baking tin (I’ve used a loaf tin) lined with baking parchment and with a sheet of edible wafer paper on the bottom if you are using it.
Add another sheet of the edible wafer paper on top (optional) then fold over the baking parchment to enclose your panforte completely.
Now put a couple of heavy jars on top of the panforte to weigh it down and leave it overnight or for 24 hours to set.
Finally, remove the panforte from the tin and discard the baking parchment. Now slice your panforte and it is ready to serve.
How many does this serve?
I got 10 good sized slices from this panforte recipe.
How long does panforte keep?
Now, this is one of the great things about Italian panforte, just like any other Christmas cake it has a long shelf life. This no-bake Christmas cake recipe (no-bake panforte) will keep for up to 2 months!
This makes panforte a great wee foodie gift for Christmas and for adding to your Christmas hampers. Check out my post on how to build the perfect Christmas hamper.
What does panforte taste like?
This Italian dessert/cake tastes rather like a really rich and super moist fruit cake. Think of the best possible Christmas cake and you’ll get the right idea here.
How to serve panforte
Traditionally in Italy panforte is served in very small portions either with a strong coffee after a meal or with a liqueur/brandy. Panforte can even be served at breakfast time, though maybe without the booze!
I like to serve my panforte in slices with coffee after dinner. It also goes really well with a nice mug of tea in the afternoon.
Serve your no-bake Christmas cake/panforte with a slice of crumbly Wensleydale cheese (or a good blue cheese) and a glass of rich red wine and sit by the fire.
Looking for more easy bakes for Christmas? Then check out these fun recipes before you go;
looking for more festive foodie ideas? Then I have a whole section on Christmas recipes for you to check out.
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
- 150 g nuts walnuts, almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts
- 100 g dried fruit figs and apricots chopped
- 100 g candied peel
- 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 75 g caster sugar
- 75 g honey
- 2 tbsp sherry
- 50 g plain flour
- Toast the nuts in a dry pan for 1 minute till aromatic and golden
- Whizz the fruit in food processor along with the honey, sherry, sugar and spices then boil for 6 minutes
- Remove pan from heat and stir in the flour, nuts and candied peel
- Press into baking tin lined with baking parchment and put edible paper top and bottom if using. Cover and press down with weights and leave to set overnight or for 2 hours
- Unwrap the panforte, dust with icing sugar and cut into slices to serve