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Panforte - Italian Fruitcake (Gluten-Free)

This recipe comes to us from Ann Sokolowski.

The following is a gluten-free recipe for Panforte, a wonderful Italian fruitcake from Sienna which dates back five hundred years! It must be good if it has lasted that long, right? The dried fruit mixture is predominately figs and dates, but a combination with other fruits works well, too. Note the use of the rice crackers. Typically, a special rice wafer is used to top it, but this is usually only found in certain specialty stores.

Makes: 14 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: at 375 for 35 minutes
Stand: 24 hours

For Preparing pan:
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
(preferably butter-flavored)
1 package (3.5 ounces) thin crunchy unflavored rice crackers, pulsed in
food processor until uniformly fine

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Panforte:
1 ¼ cups blanched whole almonds
¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons walnuts
2/3 cup toasted whole hazelnuts (see Note)
½ cup dried figs or mixed dried fruit bits such as raisins, apples,
peaches, plums
½ cup diced pitted dates
1 cup finely diced candied citron
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground mace
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black or white pepper
¾ cup light honey
½ cup rice-cracker crumbs (from preparing pan)

Topping: 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of 10 inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Measure out and reserve ½ cup rice-cracker crumbs. Use remaining crumbs to thickly coat bottom and sides of prepared pan.
  • Panforte: Pulse almonds, walnuts in processor until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl. Pulse hazelnuts in processor until coarsely chopped. Add to bowl. Process figs and dates in processor until finely ground. Add to bowl of nuts along with citron.
  • Mix the sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in small saucepan, pressing out lumps. Blend in honey. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes; dont let boil.
  • Pour hot honey mixture over fruits and nuts; mix well. Scoop into prepared pan. With buttered hands, pat firmly into pan, pushing to edge; smooth top. Scatter reserved ½ cup cracker crumbs over top; press in.
  • Bake in 375 degrees over 35 minutes; Panforte will feel soft. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Run thin-bladed spatula around edge to loosen. Remove pan side. Carefully slide spatula underneath the Panforte to separate from pan bottom, but do not lift off pan bottom. Cool Panforte on pan bottom on wire rack to room temperature. Slide off pan bottom onto large square of heavy-duty foil.
  • Topping: Sift sugar over panforte. Wrap in foil; let season at least 24 hours. If desired, dust top with more confectioners sugar and sprinkle ground nuts around edge.

Note: Spread hazelnuts in 9 inch pie pan. bake in 375 oven 10 minutes. Rub briskly in clean kitchen towel to remove most of brown skins.

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Hello I was diagnosed Dec 15 of last year and went totally gluten-free the next day. I actually got worse before I got better - it's a steep learning curve - but now, 4 1/2 months later I'm finally seeing improvement. Hang in there.

Called my GI doctor today to make sure he is going to look at my small intestine and do biopsy for Celiac for my EGD and he is. Thanks for the tip everyone about have to start eating gluten again. The office told me to break my gluten free diet and start eating gluten everyday until my EGD. Here's to being miserable again for a few weeks ???

I can completely relate! The horrible mental effects that I have been living with for years is the absolute worst side effect of eating gluten, HANDS DOWN. Worse than the endless tummy aches, worse than the constant diarrhea, worse than the week long migraines, worse than the daily fatigue and body pain.... I honestly though there was something seriously wrong with me and hated my life because of how I felt mentally. I always felt like I was drowning, not in control of my thoughts, trapped in some unexplained misery. My head was always so cloudy, and I was mad because I always felt so slow and stupid. I would feel so lethargic and sad and empty while at the same time be raging inside, wanting to rip out of my own skin. I was mean, terrible, would snap at the people closest to me for no good reason and just felt like I hated everyone and everything. Think of how crappy you feel when you have a terrible cold and flu - I felt that crappy, but mentally. Some days were really bad, some were mild. I always thought it was because I was getting a migraine, or because I had a migraine, or because I had just overcome a migraine, because I didn't sleep well, because....always a random reason to justify why we have all these weird unrelated symptoms before we get diagnosed. I'm happy to say that I have been gluten-free for about 2 months now and though I am not symptom free, the first thing that improved was my mood. I no longer feel foggy and miserable. For the first time in years, my head is clear, I can actually think, and I feel positive and like I am in control of what's going on in my head. I don't hate the world. I don't spend every day bawled up on the corner of the couch depressed and angry. The release of these horrible symptoms is enough to never make me want to cheat, no matter what I have to miss out on. So insane how a little minuscule amount of a stupid protein can wreck such havoc.

I wanted to collect some of the info on NCGI in one place so that visitors who test negative but may still have an issue with gluten can be directed there. I'll add to this post as I find new links, but feel free to add or contribute anything you think may be of use! Matt --- Useful links: An overview from Alessio Fasano, one of the world's leading researchers on celiac and gluten sensitivity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvfTV57iPUY Umberto Volta, another leading researcher in the field gives some of the latest findings about NCGI: Presentation slides from Dr Volta's visit to Coeliac UK - NCGS about halfway through A scholarly overview from celiac disease magazine: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Knut_Lundin/publication/232528784_Non-celiac_Gluten_Sensitivity/links/09e415098bbe37c05b000000.pdf A good overview from a sceptical but fair perspective: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-balanced-look-at-gluten-sensitivity/ Another overview: https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity-2/ University of Chicago's excellent celiac site's take: http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/category/faq-non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/ A compelling account in the British Medical Journal from an NCGI patient: http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e7982 Here's some positive news about a potential new test: http://www.medicaldaily.com/non-celiac-gluten-insensitivity-blood-test-392850 NCGI in children: NCGI and auto immune study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26026392 Also consider: Fodmaps: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/research/divisions/dns/projects/fodmaps/faq.aspx This Monash study: http://fodmapmonash.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-truth-behind-non-celiac-gluten.html suggested some who think they're reacting to gluten should actually be reducing fodmaps Sibo: http://www.webmd.boots.com/digestive-disorders/small-intestinal-bacteria-sibo

I was just diagnosed in March and I totally feel you. I'm having a hard enough time with determining which lip glosses are safe, let alone all my face products etc. I feel like this 'grey area' is the biggest annoyance with Celiac. So many foods/cosmetics I thought were safe after reading the ingredient list are actually not safe at all! One website says it's safe, one says its not. All these unfamiliar ingredients and even after googling term after term still so many grey areas!! I'm sure in time it gets easier and second nature and you learn by trial and error but holy this constant uncertainty is super annoying haha.