Pistachio & Ginger Panforte

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Prep 30minBake 40-45minMakes 12-16 serves

Panforte is a traditional Italian confectionary packed with nuts and dried fruit and associated with Christmas. This one features ginger, pistachio and macadamias. It has a firm chewy texture and is rich and satisfying so you only need a small wedge. Serve with coffee or dessert wine after a meal, or anytime you need an afternoon pick me up. it also makes a wonderful gift.


  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 2 sheets edible rice paper (see Baker's Tips)
  • 50g (⅓ cup/1¾oz) plain flour
  • 55g (½ cup/2oz) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 70g (½ cup/2½oz) pitted dried dates, coarsely chopped
  • 80g (½ cup/2¾oz) prunes, coarsely chopped
  • 200g (1 cup/7oz) red glacé cherries

  • 100g (3½oz) glacé ginger, coarsely chopped

  • 140g (1 cup/5oz) unsalted pistachio kernels
  • 155g (1 cup/5½oz) unsalted roasted macadamias, coarsely chopped
  • 115g (⅓ cup/4oz) honey
  • 75g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
  • 75g (⅓ cup, firmly packed/2¾oz) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (40ml/1⅓fl oz) water
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • Icing sugar, to dust


  1. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 170°C/340°F (150°C/300°F fan-forced). Brush a shallow 20cm/8in round cake tin (base measurement) with the melted butter to grease. Line the base with a circle of rice paper, cutting the sheets to fit. Line the sides with a strip of baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, spices and salt into a large bowl, stir in all the fruit and nuts.
  3. Put the honey, sugars and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered and without stirring, for 5 minutes. Immediately pour the hot syrup and vanilla over the fruit and nut mixture and, working quickly, stir with a wooden spoon until well combined (see Baker's Tips). Immediately, press mixture firmly and evenly into prepared tin.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool in the pan. Remove from pan and dust liberally with icing sugar. Serve in thin wedges.

Baker's Tips

  • Edible confectioner's rice paper sheets are available from Asian grocers, delicatessens and specialty food stores. Don't confuse it with Asian rice paper that is used to make rice paper rolls.
  • Before adding the hot honey syrup to the fruit and nut mixture, place a tea towel under the bowl to stop it from slipping when mixing.
  • This panforte will keep wrapped well in plastic wrap at room temperature in a cool spot for up to 1 month.