Energy Snack: Ottolenghi’s Chocolate Panforte Recipe

Every hike, every swim, every day out deserves an indulgence. For long days outside, when you exercise and need to refuel, you need to find energy snacks that taste good and are good for you too. At home, we are huge fans of Yotam Ottolenghi‘s cookbooks whose Sweet edition (his cookbook on all things sweet) includes this delicious chocolate panforte recipe. We made a batch for our week in the Pyrenees at Refuge du Rulhe.

Chocolate panforte - Yotam Ottolenghi recipe

Pictured here at L’Etang Bleu off the GR10, doesn’t this energy snack look perfect for the great outdoors? It’s nutritious, small, packed with the best quality dried fruit and tastes delicious. It’s also a lot healthier than any of the chemical energy snacks or gels you’ll buy in stores, with no hidden nasties or additives. If you are ready for your next adventure outdoors, try this.

What is Panforte?

Isn’t it the Italian fruit cake you buy in upscale stores at Christmas?

Well yes, that’s definitely one way to come about panforte which is a Tuscan alternative to panettone. Panforte (also known as Siena Cake after the Italian city where it originated in medieval times) is a deliciously chewy Christmas concoction of dried and candied fruits, nuts and spices held together with molten sugar.

It’s an expensive food so it’s good news that you can make yours at home without breaking the bank. Yotam Ottolenghi’s chocolate panforte is not even difficult to make for home cooks. All it takes is planning.

Planning for Panforte

We made the panforte about a week before the trip so that it would have time to settle and dry. The flavors and spices also need time to blend.

Halles de Beziers

Shopping for ingredients did present some challenges outside of the festive season. I’m guessing that finding most of these items closer to Christmas would be fairly easy (as it’s essentially dried nuts and winter spices) but summer in Occitanie is a different challenge. As our local food stores didn’t stock “exotic” or unusual ingredients, we collected everything from three places: most nuts and cocoa from my dad’s favorite Petit Casino (a small but well-stocked supermarket), orange peel, ground cloves and dried fruit from the olive & spice stall at Béziers’ old food court (Les Halles), and honey and spices from an organic supermarket called L’Eau Vive.

Storage

Once made, the panforte was left to cool down, rest and settle on a table until it was time to slice it. This photograph shows a traditional Christmas panforte in its fruity glory.

Panforte photograph on Flickr

Panforte is dense and a little goes a long way. For our trip to the Pyrenees, we cut 15 individual slices out of 40% of the panforte. So, the total yield for a whole batch would be 38 slices – which is enough to re-energize a big group or keep you going solo a long time. Whether or not you are ready to share something delicious is up to you — no judgments.

Nutritional Information

Recipe

This recipe below uses metric measures. For US measures, see right after the recipe (instructions remain the same).

Energy Snack: Ottolenghi's Chocolate Panforte Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A nutritious energy snack that's packed with quality dried fruit and nuts - great for days outside or to gift to family and friends for the holidays.
Frog Mom:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 38 slices
Ingredients
  • 150g whole blanched almonds
  • 150g whole blanched hazelnuts/filberts
  • 200g dried figs, cubed
  • 100g candied orange peel, cut in small cubes
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 100g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa mass)
  • 175g sugar
  • 250g honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 180C/350F, grease a square 20 cm/ 8" mould and line with baking paper.
  2. Roast the nuts in the oven on a baking tray until brown and fragrant (10 min), then turn off the oven. Leave in the oven until ready to use.
  3. In a bowl, combine orange peel, figs, orange zest with flour, cocoa powder, spices, salt and pepper.
  4. Melt chocolate in the microwave oven or in a double boiler using bain-marie method.
  5. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and honey over low heat to a simmer until it reaches 114C on a sugar thermometer (soft boil stage).
  6. Carefully pour hot syrup over the fruit & dry ingredients mix, then add the warm nuts straight from the oven.
  7. Fold in warm chocolate and stir until well combined (it will be rough and stiff).
  8. Press the mixture into the lined mould and flatten with a spatula.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes, until panforte is set but still soft. Remove from oven and let cool. Rest for a few days before cutting into small segments.

Ingredients (US Measures)

  • 1 heaping cup whole blanched hazelnuts
  • 1 heaping cup whole blanched almonds
  • 7 oz candied orange peel, cubed in small pieces
  • 3½ oz dried figs, chopped in small pieces
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 1¾ cups + 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cardamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 5½ ounces 70% dark chocolate
  • ¾ cup + 1 Tbsp honey
  • ¾ cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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