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Gluten Free Christmas Panforte

By Catherine Noonan on December 17, 2014 in Food

Photo: Catherine Noonan

Photo: Catherine Noonan

Traditionally Panforte is filled with dried figs and roasted nuts, and set in a rich, chewy, toffee-like caramel. It’s a Christmas treat to die for and this gluten-free version is no exception.

I’ve tweaked the classic recipe, replacing wheat flour with coconut flour, cane sugar with coconut sugar, honey with rice malt syrup and icing sugar with coconut flour for dusting.

Because the Panforte is held together by a chewy caramel, made by melting sugar, syrup and water together at high heat, it’s essential to move fast through steps 6 and 7. This will ensure that the caramel doesn’t set too early.

This Panforte is perfect on it’s own, or with a dessert wine. To keep it fresh, store in an airtight container either on the bench or in the fridge.

Ingredients (serves 10)

Dry filling
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger

Other Filling
120g roasted hazelnuts
110g roasted almonds
1 cup (10 large) dried figs, roughly chopped
60g very dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated

150g coconut sugar
150g rice malt syrup
1 tbsp water


1. Preheat a fan-forced oven to 160 degrees Celcius.
2. Grease a 20 centimetre round cake tin, line with baking paper and set aside.
3. Sift the dry filling into a mixing bowl.
4. Add all other filling ingredients, mix to combine and set aside.
5. In a small saucepan, add the caramel ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a light boil and wait until the temperate reaches 115 degrees Celcius on a sugar thermometer*.
6. Move quickly to then pour the hot caramel into the mixing bowl and stir to combine with the dry ingredients.
7. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, spreading to the sides (it’s handy to use a spare sheet of baking paper to help press down on the mixture without it sticking to your hands or spatula).
8. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven and then allow to cool completely thereafter.
9. Once cooled, dust with extra coconut flour and slice ready to serve.

*If you don’t have sugar thermometer, bring the caramel to the boil and remove immediately once the caramel reaches ‘balling’ point (when it forms a little solid ball when you place a drop in cool water).