[Sca-cooks] Pan Pepato - was fruitcakes

Louise Smithson helewyse at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 24 11:05:44 PST 2009

The odd thing is that I finally found a period recipe for panpepato (pan forte) in a chiurgeon book of all places. 
It is, after all the same festival bread referenced in Elizabeth Davids bread book and previously identified in other period cook books.  I.e. a yeast bread with added sugar, spices, fruit etc.  
I have included the recipe and reference below, the original book is in the Gallica collection at BNF

> Del modo di fare il pan forte, che si fa nelle speciarie Cap 39 Libro
> Quinto.
> Il pan forte che si fa nelle spetiarie che a Roma lo chiamano pan pepato,
> perciohe vi entra il pepe, a Bologna lo chiamano pan spetiale, percioche vi
> mettono dentro di piu sorti di spetie, & a Venetia lo chiamano pan forte dal
> pepe che vi mettono, & in altri luochi lo chiamano in diversi altri modi;
> una in quanto al modo di farlo e quasi tutto uno, & si fa cosi cioe, si
> piglia farina, & se gli fa il suo levato come si fa per fare il pane, & poi
> si impasta con acqua e mele tanto di uno quanto di l'altro, & vi si mette
> pepe, zafarano, comino, garofali, zucche condite, scorze di naranze condite;
> di tutte le sopradette cose quella quantita che pare allo speciale, che si
> convenga in detto pane; & impastato che sara, fare il pane, & lasciarlo
> levare, e poi farlo cuocere nel forno, avvertendo che il forno non sia
> trooppo caldo quando vi si metto il detto pane, & questo e molto salutifero
> (salutisero) allo stomaco rispetto alle specie che vi entrano.
> The way to make "pan forte" that is made by the Spiciers (Chapter 39, Fifth
> book)
> The strong bread that is made by the spiciers of Rome is called Peppered
> bread, because it contains pepper, in Bologna it is called spiced bread
> because they put inside many more types of spices, and in Venice they call
> it strong bread because of the pepper they put in, and in other places it is
> called in many other ways, however in all these places the way of making it
> is almost only one, and one makes it thus that is, one takes flour, and one
> gives it it's raising agent (bigo) the same as one does for making bread,
> and then one pastes it (mixes it) with water and honey more of the one
> (first) than the other (second), and one puts into it pepper, saffron,
> cumin, cloves, candied gourd (could be squash given time period of writing)
> and candied orange peel, and all these above things one puts in in the
> quantity that is the opinion of the spicier, that one agrees is better to
> add to this bread; and when it is mixed make the bread and leave it to
> raise, and then put it to cook in the oven, taking care that the oven is not
> too hot when you add the bread, and this is very healthy to the stomach
> because of the spices it has inside.

> Type : texte imprimé, monographie
> Auteur(s) :  Fioravanti, Leonardo
> Titre(s) :  Compendio de i secreti rationali [Document électronique] / di M.
> Leonardo Fioravanti Bolognese,...
> Type de ressource électronique :  Données textuelles
> Publication :  1995
> Description matérielle :  [11]-183 f.
> Note(s) :  Date d'éd. du microfilm provenant d'un catalogue d'éditeur
> Reproduction :  Num. BNF de l'éd. de : Cambridge (Mass.) : Omnisys, [ca
> 1990] (Italian books before 1601 ; 425.4). 1 microfilmReprod. de l'éd. de :
> Turino : appresso Giovanni Dominico Tarino, 1592
> Sujet(s) :  Médecine -- Ouvrages avant 1800
Mistress Rachaol MakCreith found a reference to pampapati in Waverly  
Root?s "The Food of Italy", sent it to me, and I ran with the information.

The reference is: ?The Christmas-New Years holidays are marked by the  
appearance in pastry-shop windows of pampepato di ciccolato, a very old  
Ferrarese sweet. It is a cake made of flour, cocoa, milk, honey (sugar if  
honey is not at hand), pepper, spices, almonds, and lemon peel with  
chocolate frosting powdered with sugar and tiny candies. It is of ancient  
lineage. Duke Borso d?Este served pampapati at a banquet on November 11,  
1465, making them exceptionally appetizing by inserting a gold piece in  

Even in my own creation of a pampapato recipe includes baking soda,  
something that our medieval counterparts would not have had access to. What  
I need to do is go back, not use any levener whatsoever in one batch and  
use baking ammonia (which would be more appropriate for our period of study  
as far as chemical leveners go).


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