[Sca-cooks] panpepati was Pancakes and Fruitcakes was Happy Shrove/Fat Tuesday
johnnae at mac.com
Wed Feb 25 06:28:32 PST 2009
Maybe I can add some more information. I'll be drawing together information
from several books so I hope this makes sense.
One book that has appeared since
your original research was done is Gillian Riley's The Oxford Companion to
Italian Food (2007).
I won't reproduce the entire entry on "Panpepato" but there appear to be
a number of variants to this cake or bread.
(To begin, Riley lists it as being a version of panforte and there's of
course another entry on that. See below.)
In her entry on panepato, Riley writes "The scholar-courtier Francesco
Redi defined panpetato as coming in three versions: the /sopraffina/,
made with refined sugar,
decorated with marzipan shapes and coloured icing;
a medium quality made with honey and ordinary ingredients; and
the inferior sort, which to us sounds rather good, made with wholemeal
flour and bran,
pepper, dried figs, walnuts, and honey."
[Redi's dates are 1626–1697, so his remarks are 17th century.]
Riley refers to the work of Giovanna Giusti Galardi author of the 2001
Dolci a Corte.
I actually own both the English translation and the original Italian
version of Dolci a Corte, so I can easily look
up her chapter on "panpepato." Giusti Galardi notes that the Palatine
Maria Luisa de' Medici wrote from Dusseldorf to her uncle to thank him
for the offer of a panpepato
that he was sending from Florence. This was 1692.
Giusti Galardi uses this letter as an introduction to a section on
panpepato. She writes that
it was "linked to the Feast of All Saints....in Siena it was called pane
peppered-bread), in Florence, less refinedly, pandigusto (flavourful bread).
Giusti Galardi includes a 17th century recipe that calls for honey,
squash preserves, orange
preserves, spices,and flour as needed.
When one returns to Riley and her Oxford Companion to Italian Food entry
one comes across a few more places to check for medieval and Renaissance
descriptions and recipes.
She writes "Spiced cakes or breads were described by Costanzo Felici in
(According to the bibliography there are two volumes of Felici letters
that were published
in the 1980's.)
Panfortes were also made "with honey or sapa, hence the name pan melato
Riley ends with the interesting note that Maria Vittoria della Verde
included recipes for
several versions of a panmelato in her notebooks.
This is an important note. By way of information, Suor (or Sister) Maria
Vittoria was a
nun in Perugia. In 1583 she began keeping a series of notebooks that
include recipes for a number
of confections and items like wafers. She died in 1622 at the age of 67,
so her notebooks
are late 16th and early 17th century as to dating. And all 170 recipes
from the notebooks were
published in 1989. It took me forever but I eventually found and
purchased a copy of this book
several years back. In it there are indeed a few recipes for panmelato.
Lastly, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, author of The Splendid Table, says that
was first added in the 19th century. She includes a recipe at:
Hope this helps
Johnnae llyn Lewis
jenn.strobel at gmail.com wrote:
> 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
> 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 each."
> 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).
> If anyone else has done any research on fruitcake, or has points that
> I missed/failed to get/totally screwed up, please contact me. This
> particular subject is (obviously) one near and dear to my heart, but I
> haven't had the time to revisit what I did lo those many years ago.
> New and better information is always welcome.
It's not just the chemical leavener that's OOP; notice the reference
also says the pampapato was made with cocoa and had a chocolate frosting
and was served at a banquet in 1465. Unless the Duke had sent his own
expedition to the western hemisphere, chocolate wasn't known, much less
used, in Europe at the time of his feast. Perhaps there's an older
recipe for pampapato somewhere that doesn't include chocolate. Sandra
You are correct about the cocoa being problematic. I failed to comment
upon it and apologize for doing so.
I could find no recipes or other references to pampapato during our
period of study other than the reference given. I've also seen claims
that Pampepato came from the Middle East in the 1500's, originated in a
convent in the 16th century, and both Terni and Ferrara Italy claims it
as being from their area.
The Italian version of Wikipedia's entry on pampepato
(http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pampepato) repeats the Duke d'Este
information and says that the origins are in Umbria (Terni). My Italian
is not so great, so I am probably missing something in that article. The
Wikipedia article also links to an article (in Italian) about the
origins of Pampepato
that I would need more time than I have to dig through for
comprehension. These were not resources for me when I wrote the article,
but may clarify things.
I'm not drawing any conclusions here, just adding more information onto
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