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Dark-Chocolate and Sour-Cherry Panforte

One of the other Christmasy treats I made this season was this Sienese panforte.ย  I made this to serve after the Balmoral Carols when we were all back at our house and looking for something sweet to enjoy with a cup of tea or a glass of red.

Dark-chocolate and sour-cherry panforte

Dark-chocolate and sour-cherry panforte

I do love panforte as it’s not too much trouble to make, it goes a long way, it’s full of spices and fruits and nuts and all things Christmasy and it also makes a great gift.

I found this recipe in the December issue of Gourmet Traveller and liked how rich and dark it looked and how it’s made with dried sour-cherries – a new favourite ingredient.

It’s very easy to make a double quantity and so I had a spare to give away to friends hosting a brunch the next day.ย  (At that time of year you just roll from one even to another!)

A perfect way to finish a meal or present as a gift

A perfect way to finish a meal or present as a gift

5.0 from 3 reviews
Dark-Chocolate and Sour-Cherry Panforte
Recipe type: Christmas
Cuisine: Sienese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
A dark-chocolate and sour-cherry panforte, perfect for closing a meal or presenting as a gift.
  • 225g blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 150g blanched hazelnuts, (I used pistachios to give that green colour), coarsely chopped
  • 100g dried figs, coarsely chopped
  • 100g dried sour-cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 30g dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
  • 20g Dutch-process cocoa, sieved, plus 25g extra for dusting
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • 175g honey
  • 75g caster sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. Use one large sheet of baking paper to line the base and sides of a 22cm round cake tin so that there are no gaps. (Don't worry about creases).
  3. Combine nuts, figs, sour cherries, chocolate and cocoa with half the cinnamon and the white pepper in a bowl.
  4. Stir honey and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then cook without boiling until syrupy, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Working quickly, pour honey mixture over nut mixture and mix well to combine, then spoon into prepared cake tin, pressing well into tin and smooth top with a hot, wet spatula. Bake until dark and glossy (35-40 minutes). Cool completely in tin (3-4 hours).
  6. Combine extra cocoa with remaining cinnamon, remove panforte from tin and dust top with cocoa. Wrap tightly in baking paper, then in wrapping of your choice. The flavour of panforte will develop over time so it's best eaten after a few days. It will keep wrapped for up to a month.


You will need a set of good strong teeth to enjoy this as this panforte is very hard and crunchy.


  1. I’ve heard of this strongly spiced fruit and nut cake/bread but have never attempted it. It seems to be quite a hearty dessert and a little would be quite filling. Does dipping it in coffee or tea help with the chewing? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What an interesting dessert Charlie, I don’t believe I’ve heard of it before. The colours do look very festive since you switched the nuts to pistachios. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you’ll have a very happy new year.

  3. This is fantastic Charlie… Now I know what to make with all my left over fruit and nuts ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks!!! Liz xx

  4. Wow, you make the best stuff all year round but at Christmas you always leave me in the dust. This looks great.

  5. I’ve never heard of a Panforte before – wow – with all those nuts and cherries and figs and chocolate – it sounds totally delectable – I so wish I had a slice of it for breakfast now!

  6. Oh, I do love panforte – love the idea of adding sour cherries too.

  7. I’ve never heard of a panforte before, but based on the ingredient list, I think I would love it! All those nuts and dried fruit…can’t go wrong!

  8. I haven’t had this Italian cake in a long time. This version with the pistachios and dried cherries sounds great. Wishing you all the best in this New Year.

  9. I like the idea of using pistachios in this panforte. And as you say, the recipe looks simple enough with great rewards. Happy 2015!

  10. What a beautiful dessert. Easy to make dairy free as well!

  11. I adore panforte!

  12. First of all, I love your Santas that are just chilling on the table! Second, this looks delicious, loving that dark chocolate edge!

  13. So delicious indeed Charlie, such fabulous flavours! You would definitely be invited back anywhere if you gave away one of these beauties as a hostess gift ๐Ÿ™‚ xox

  14. Love Panforte Charlie. It always feels so much less naughty than eating a whole Christmas cake, But f course it isn’t- just don’t tell me.

  15. I am a fan of panforte, we always get it as a present, but I have never tried making it ๐Ÿ˜€
    Delicious, I will try your recipe!
    Happy New Year my friend ๐Ÿ˜€

    Choc Chip Uru

  16. Hard and crunchy…I might not be able to handle this, one of my teeth cracked and I haven’t had it fixed! Maybe after a while, sure looks good though. Love all the nuts and fruit in this.

  17. You’re just killing me with all these recipes! I cannot possibly continue eating like I have been for the past six weeks or so, yet this Panforte really catches my eye. I love this recipe. So I’ve pinned it and we’ll see how long before the next big occasion when I will have the excuse to make this. I can taste it right now with a nice cup of tea or coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Yum… in all my Christmas and holiday feasting, I didn’t have any Panforte. Sigh! Best whip up a batch soon huh?!

  19. Love this Italian cake. Really like the addition of the cherries, interested to see pepper too.

  20. pure gorgeousness. WOW. xxx

  21. I made your tasty panforte yesterday afternoon & my friends all loved it!
    it is rich but Ooh so special too! very Yum yum too!

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