As with pretty much everything in life I am always three steps behind where I had planned to be and that can also be applied to my Christmas baking and more importantly to you guys my Christmas recipe blogging. I am currently sat at the dining room table in my childhood family home writing up this post, drinking a large mug of homemade mulled wine and eating a slice of this Gluten Free Vegan Italian Chocolate Panforte. I am so behind on everything!!!
Busy time of year.
Like everyone, I am just so busy at this time of the year. Both my sister and I are shift-workers with in-law families to please as well as our own. When my sister had her Son, we came up with a plan that in early December we would both take a little time off from work return home to Plymouth and my mum and dad would then have an early Christmas for us. The full works, a full Christmas dinner, Christmas pudding and of course mulled wine! This year I brought along this gluten-free vegan Italian chocolate panforte and a more traditional Italian panforte, which will be coming to the blog very soon. I promise 😉
Gluten Free & Vegan.
So let’s get on with this gluten-free vegan chocolate Italian panforte, shall we? And I will stop my complaining. Traditionally panforte is made with honey (lots of it) fruit, nuts, spices and a touch of flour to bring it all together.
To make this gluten-free I simply swapped out the flour for white rice flour. This is what I had on hand for a gluten-free option. I should imagine any gluten-free flour can be used. The amount is pretty small and is used more as a binder then for any structural purposes. So I imagine if you have a favourite gluten-free flour you would be good to use that one.
To make this vegan I simply swapped out the honey for sweet light agave nectar. The only other thing to watch out for is the sweet fortified wine that I added. I must admit it did take some hunting for me to find a vegan fortified wine but I did it. If you are not sure and are wanting to make this for someone else, then just simply replace it with fruit juice. Better to be safe than sorry.
The rest of it.
Everything else in this gluten free vegan chocolate Italian panforte is super simple and easy to come by. I used a combination of pistachios, hazelnuts and cashews for the nuts. For the dried fruits I used a mix of candied citrus peel, figs and apricots. I felt these three had a more Mediterranean feel to them then some of the other dried fruits available.
Don’t need it GF & Vegan.
If you fancy making this recipe but don’t follow a gluten-free or vegan diet then it is easy to swap the ingredients about. Regular plain / all purpose flour can be used and honey can replace the agave nectar and you won’t need to give any special considerations to the dessert wine used.
Hopefully, the next few weeks will calm down and I can get back to a more relaxed blogging schedule….. Yeah, that is not gonna happen. Next up it is Christmas with the in-laws…lol.
- 300 grams pistachios, hazelnuts and cashews (2 and ¼ cups)
- 125 grams dried figs (1 cup)
- 125 grams dried apricots (1 cup)
- 100 grams finely chopped mixed citrus candied peel (2/3 cup)
- 75 grams rice flour (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamon
- 125 grams light agave nectar (a scant ½ cup)
- 150 grams dark brown sugar (2/3 cup - packed)
- 100 grams good quality dark chocolate (3.5 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons vegan fortified wine
- Icing sugar to coat.
- Preheat your oven to 150C / 300F / Gas mark 2.
- Prepare a 20cm / 8inch round springform pan by lightly greasing it with vegetable fat and line the tin with baking parchment then place to one side.
- Cover a large flat baking sheet with baking parchment or use a silicone baking mat and sprinkle all of the nuts over it and place them in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Once 5 minutes are up, stir the nuts and give them a further 5 minutes. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool down.
- While they are cooling down, take your figs and apricots and chop them up into small chunks and toss them into a large mixing bowl.
- Once the nuts are cool, chop them up - not too fine still leave them chunky and place them in with the figs and apricots.
- Add in the candied citrus peel and give all the nuts, fruit and peel a good mix.
- Add in, the rice flour, cocoa powder and spices and mix until everything is well combined.
- In a small saucepan over a low heat pour in the agave nectar, sugar and add-in the chocolate once it's been broken up into small chunks.
- Add-in, the wine if you are using it.
- Then over a low heat, stir until the ingredients warm up and the chocolate has melted.
- Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well coated.
- Carefully pour the batter into your prepared cake tin, pat it down with the back of a spoon and place in your warm oven for 40 minutes.
- Once baked take it out of the oven and allow it to sit in the tin and fully cool down. The cake will firm up as it cools.
- Once cool release the cake from the tin and liberally coat with icing sugar.
- Wrap the cake with baking parchment and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.