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"Panpepato" BITES

"Panpepato" is a traditional Italian dessert prepared in various regions of the country. The ingredients slightly vary according to the production area but always includes dried fruits, nuts and spices such as pepper, cinnamon or nutmeg.

"Panpepato" originated in the late Middle Ages, when a rich bread made with dried fruit, spices and honey was made for the holidays. The dessert had a strong symbolism connected to it. Bread, the symbol of life, was combined with fine ingredients such as spices, which were something very expensive at the time and not an everyday ingredient like today. Spices symbolized wealth and prosperity, important factors to consider, wish and celebrate at the beginning of a new year. 

I had lots of nuts and dry fruits in my pantry, so I created a recipe inspired by Panpepato's combination of nuts, spices and dry fruit. Visually it looks similar to a traditional one, but it is made without flour, cacao or honey, some of the ingredients found in the traditional version. I must say I am happy with the result!

Those “Panpepato bites” can be prepared and enjoyed all year long, no need to wait for the holiday!


  • 2 cups of dates

  • ½ cup of walnuts 

  • ½ cup of pistachio

  • ½ cup of hazelnuts

  • ½ cup of dried fruit (diced)*

  • 2 tbsp of salted butter (melted)

  • ½ tsp of cinnamon

  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract


  1. Soak the dates in hot water for 30 minutes. Line a rectangular or square pan** with parchment paper.  

  2. After about 30 minutes, drain the water from the dates  and place them in a food processor. Use the pulsing function, stopping from time to time to mix the dates until you obtain a paste. Don’t worry if the paste does not look smooth, you just want to create a malleable paste.

  3. Roughly chop the nuts on a cutting board.

  4. Place the nuts in a large pan on medium heat. Lightly roast them for a couple minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning them.

  5. Add the date paste, butter, cinnamon and vanilla.

  6. Mix well and keep cooking for 4 minutes, constantly stirring.

  7. Pour the date/nut mixture in the rectangular pan lined with parchment paper. Using your hand (they will get sticky, I am warning you!) press the mixture and try to make it as flat as possible.

  8. Cover the pan with a towel/plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes. 

  9. After 30 minutes of cooling in the freezer***, you can retrieve your pan and carefully remove the date/nuts mixture from the pan, using the edge of the parchment paper to help you in the operation.

  10. Using a sharp knife, cut squares of your preferred dimension… Enjoy!


* Please note that you can use any type of nuts and dried fruit. I used what I had in my pantry and you should do the same!

** You can use any size of pan, just keep in mind that the larger it is, the thinner the bars will be…not a problem though, they will still taste amazing!

***Keep the bars in the freezer and enjoy the cold or slightly warm up at room temperature.


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