Saturday, July 20 2024

“Pampepato Ternano” has been prepared since about the 16th century. It probably originated from the Far East, brought by caravans carrying spices, around the middle of the 16th century.

Then, Italic tradition added local flavors such as walnuts, citrus fruits and the “secret” ingredient, cooked must (“sapa” or “saba” in Roman times), which is hard to find, but is bottled in Terni specifically for the preparation of pampepato.

The first traces of a written recipe date from around 1800.

It is a traditional peasant dessert, typical of holidays because the purchase of ingredients, especially spices, was very expensive.

Siena’s panpepato dates back to the medieval period.

In the 1800s, in honor of Queen Margherita, a new type of panforte, or pampepato, covered with powdered sugar was made and given the name Panforte Margherita[7].

The origins of “Pampepato di Ferrara” can be traced back to the tradition of making so-called “enriched breads” during the Christmas holidays.

The recipe was probably born in the cloistered convents of Ferrara, around the 15th century, when the Church State had strong influence in the territory.
According to some sources, the etymology itself has this origin, as it would derive from the phrase “Pan del Papa.”

But it soon also became a dessert consumed by the ducal court of the Este family, which was strongly influenced by the East.

The shape of the cake undoubtedly resembles the shape of the papalina.





  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) sweet almonds, skinned
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) hazel-nuts, skinned
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) walnuts, shelled
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) candied fruit, diced
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) sultanas (white raisins)
  • 200g (7 ounces) honey
  • 150g (5 1/2 ounces) bitter (semisweet) chocolate
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • Grated nutmeg to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour to taste



  • – Soak sultanas in warm water, for about 20 minutes.
  • – Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients in a bowl.
    Chop up coarsely walnuts, almonds, hazel-nuts and chocolate.
    Add candied fruit, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg and sultanas, squeezed of their soaking water.
    Sprinkle with black pepper.
  • – Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
    Line the bottom of a baking pan with waxed paper.
  • – Bring to the boil the honey, diluted with some water, in a bain marie over a low heat.
    Pour it immediately over the other ingredients, stirring continuously, until the chocolate melts.
    At this point add the white flour slowly; stir continuously.
    Continue adding the flour until you can shape the mixture into rolls (5 or 6) and arrange them on the baking pan.
    You can also use a spoon for this step.
  • – Bake for 10 minutes.

Just before serving

  • – Remove the baking pan from the oven and let your panpepato (pepperbread) cool before serving.



  • – You may preserve this cake for a couple of weeks.
  • – It is perfect as handmade Christmas gift.
  • – Divide every cake into slices before serving it.
  • – It’s difficult to say what’s the right quantity of flour because it depends on the diluition of honey.
    Nutritional facts are calculated with 100g (3 1/2 ounces) of flour.
  • – How dilute the honey? it depends on your personal taste. If you love the sweet taste, little of course. I usually join a small glass of water. I do not like sweet when too “sweet” ;))


Facebook Comments Box




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also