Gluten free & Vegan Christmas Panforte

An Italian Christmas delight, panforte is a chewy sweet treat made with nuts and dried fruits.

Birds eye view of Christmas panforte

Traditionally, it’s made with honey however we swapped this with agave to make it vegan-friendly. The use of ground almonds (instead of flour) help to make it gluten free.

Suitable for gluten free, dairy free and vegan


150g whole blanched almonds

100g nuts of your choice (i.e. hazelnuts)

250g mixed dried fruit – sultanas, chopped apricots and diced figs all work well

50g ground almonds

Christmas panforte and sugar shaker

1½ tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

150g white sugar

150g agave

Icing sugar, for dusting

Edible rice paper (optional)


Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F / Gas 2 and lightly toast the nuts until just golden brown (this will take about 5 minutes). Whilst the nuts are toasting, lightly grease an 18cm round cake tin and line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper, or the edible rice paper if using.

Christmas panforte from side

When the nuts are toasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool before adding to a large bowl with the dried fruit, ground almonds, cocoa powder and spices.  Give everything a quick mix and set to one side.

Heat together the sugar and agave in a saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and bubble the mixture for 3 or 4 minutes.

Pour the hot mixture over the fruits and nuts and – working quickly – stir well to combine. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and use the back of a large metal spoon to flatten – the mixture is very sticky so it helps to lightly grease or wet the spoon beforehand.

Pop the tin into the oven and bake the panforte for 40-45 minutes. It will still be quite soft after this time but will firm up as it cools, so be careful not to overcook it.

Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before removing and leaving to cool fully on a wire rack. Finally finish off with a generous dusting of icing sugar, then cut into small wedges to serve.

Like this Christmas recipe? Why not try our Peppermint Chocolate Cake?

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