Pampepato

Panpepato di Terni – Wander Umbria CC BY-SA 4.0

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The pampepato, or panpepato, or pampapato is a sweet round shape (or nugget). The ingredients vary depending on the area of production. Usually, there may appear almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, candied orange and citron, raisins, mixed with or without cocoa, chocolate, coffee, liqueur, honey, flour, cooked grape must. The cake is then baked in the oven (better if in a wood oven). It is usually consumed as a sweet of the Christmas festivities. It remains essentially an artisan product; in fact, in some areas persists the home preparation and the traditional custom of exchanging the cake accompanied by a sprig of mistletoe.

Terni Pampepato
The “pampepato ternano” is prepared since the sixteenth century. The origin is probably the Far East, brought by caravans carrying spices, around the middle of the sixteenth century. Then, the Italic tradition has added local flavors such as walnuts, citrus fruits, and the “secret” ingredient, the cooked must (“sapa” or “saba” in Roman times), which is difficult to find, but that in Terni is bottled specifically for the preparation of pampepato. The first traces of a written recipe go up again around 1800.
It is a traditional sweet peasant, typical of the holidays because ingredients, especially spices, were costly. The pampepato ternano comes prepared from the ternani rigorously the 8 December, day of the Immaculate Conception, to the beginning of the festivities, but the period, sometimes, is prolonged until 14 February, the festivity of San Valentino, patron of the city and the enamored ones. Tradition has it that at least one example of it remains wrapped until Easter, or even the Assumption (August 15); this testifies to the qualities of preservability of the product, able to keep for a long time (at least three months) without preservatives. There are no exact doses of some ingredients in the original recipe because there are no precise indications; they are added “just enough” until it has the right taste.

Panpepato Senese – Marco Varisco CC BY-SA 2.0

Sienese Gingerbread
Panpepato in Siena dates back to the medieval period. In the 1800s, in honor of Queen Margherita, a new type of panforte, or pampepato, was made, covered with powdered sugar, given the name Panforte Margherita.

Pampepato of Ferrara
The origins of Ferrara’s pampepato are connected to the tradition of preparing the so-called “enriched bread” during Christmas festivities. The recipe was probably born in Ferrara’s cloistered convents, around the fifteenth century, when the State of the Church had a strong influence on the territory. According to some sources, the same etymology has this origin, derived from the phrase “Pan del Papa.” But soon, it also became a sweet consumed by the ducal court of the Estensi, who had a strong oriental influence[unclear]. The shape of the cake undoubtedly recalls the shape of the papalina.
Ferrara’s pampepato is typically made of dark chocolate, both in the dough and in the external glaze, about 4 mm thick. Hazelnuts, almonds, cinnamon, a hint of pepper, the predominance of the aroma of dark chocolate are the flavors of this cake, which, let’s remember, must be eaten fresh and soft, avoiding it if hard and dry (old).

Gingerbread of Anagni
The origins of Panpepato di Anagni are traced back to the twelfth and thirteenth century when the city hosted the papal curia, an origin also highlighted by the cake’s name, often called Panpapato (Bread of the Pope).
Panpepato from Anagni is a cake made of dried fruits (walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts), candied orange peel, raisins, dark chocolate, honey, and cooked wine. It is distinguished from Ferrara’s one by a lesser use of chocolate, totally absent in the glaze, the absence of cinnamon, and the use of cooked wine must and raisins[source].

Regional Recipe from Umbria, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio
Production area Terni, Siena, Ferrara, Anagni