One of the oldest versions of this pastry, made for the Christmas and New Year’s festivities in the Terni area, used to be white. The chocolate came much later, changing flavor and color, and only in few families does the old recipe endure, rarely found in writing.
One of the recipes for white Panpepato is owed to Giovanni Eroli from Narni, a curious and cultured man with many interests, from photography (one of the first in Narni to practice this art) to physics, from geography to astronomy. Among his passions was that of collecting cooking recipes. Giovanni Eroli (Narni 1813-1904) gathered local and extra-regional recipes, of any dish possible and imaginable, even pastries and deserts. Born in the Eroli Marquis’ family, old aristocracy established in Narni since the Fifteenth century, after graduating from La Sapienza University in Rome, he enrolled at the Ecclesiastic Academy and became prelate, later returning to his native town in his secular clothes. Here he dives into his many interests, even writing odes and sonnets; he became an inspector of antiquities and archeological excavations and a member of the Society of Homeland History and of the Society of Italian Geography. A multifaceted character, nowadays well-know, yet surely with more to uncover.
The many recipes he collected, some conserved in a manuscript, others as loose pages, have never been published, even though they had all the premises to become as successful as that of another personality of the 19th century, Pellegrino Artusi, known to this day for his publication The science in the kitchen and the art of good eating. Just by reading the recipe for the white Panpepato – refined by Marisa Radicchi – one shall definitely agree. The basic recipe (doses can always be doubled) foresees 100 grams of wildflower honey, 50 grams of sugar, 250 grams of almonds, 50 grams of candied orange peel, a tea spoon of fine freshly ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg, the juice of one orange and half a teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon.
Peel the almonds and crush till finely diced, add in the candied orange peel, 150 grams of flour and the spices. Let the honey melt in a bain-marie and rapidly mix with the dried ingredients, if the dough is too wet add in some flour and stir vigorously. Divide the dough into dome-shaped pastries, about 9 centimeters in diameter and let them cook for about 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 180°C. Let them cool and rest for a few days before serving.