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Pan Pepato - Pepper Bread Recipe

Donīt let the name fool you, pan pepato is a rich chocolate dessert from Ferrara. It is served from Christmas day to Epiphany (the 12th Night), but is traditionally offered on New Year's Eve.

In 1465 the Duke Borso d'Este, of Ferrara, held a celebration on the feast of St. Martin. To mark the occasion he served pan pepato with gold pieces inserted in each cake. The bakers of Ferrara were so famous for this dish that they sent it to nobility and to the Pope as gifts to gain their favor. During World War II the Ferrarese sent an 11 pound pan pepato to General Eisenhower.

Pan Pepato
Pepper Bread Recipe



  1. Soak the raisins in warm water for 20 minutes.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a large bowl over hot water.
  3. Remove the water from the heat, but keep the bowl over the hot water. Add the honey and amaretto to the chocolate and mix well.
  4. Add the walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts to the chocolate and mix.
  5. Add the candied fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper to the chocolate and mix well.
  6. Drain and squeeze the raisins. Add to the chocolate and mix well.
  7. Mix in the flour slowly, stirring continuously, until the flour is blended into the chocolate.
  8. Oil and flour the cookie sheet.
  9. Form the chocolate mixture into short, firm logs and place them on the cookie sheet.
  10. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet.

Note: Pan pepato is sometimes referred to as one word, pan pepato. It's often called the Italian chocolate gingerbread because of its spicy taste. The taste is similar to lebkuchen.
Pan pepato will keep for 2 weeks if wrapped in wax paper and then kept in an airtight container.
When baking this recipe you can use a pan and it will be similar to panforte.

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