"Panforte" is an Italian confection from Siena in Tuscany. It dates back to the 13th century and enjoys a wide popularity in Italy. Originally, it was baked for Christmas, but now we can eat or buy "panforte" all year long...
"Panforte" means "strong bread" in Italian and it's named so, because of it's spicy flavor. This delicacy is, in fact, a kind of cross between, candy, spice bread (Lebkuchen) and fruit cake. "Panforte" is a flat and dense round "cake" which is quite hard and chewy.
If you've never eaten that speciality, then you'd better get cooking very fastly as it's an absolute hammer! It is a bit similar in taste to Florentine cookies and is the ideal treat to end a good meal... DELIGHTFUL!!!
Recipe for a 22cm/8" round pan
100g Toasted and hulled hazelnuts, coarsly chopped
100g Toasted blanched almonds, coarsly chopped
100g Candied lemon, finely chopped
100g Candied orange, finely chopped
50g Plain white flour
2 Tbs Unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Spices for "spice bread"/Lebkuchen/pain d'épice*
100g Light runny honey
100g Castor sugar
Icing sugar to sprinkle over the top
1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
2. In a bowl, thouroughly mix the hazelnuts, almonds candied lemon, candied orange, flour, cocoa, cinnamon and spices together.
3. In a pan, slowly heat the honey and sugar while continuously mixing, until the mixture slightly foams.
4. Remove straight away from the heat.
5. With a wooden spoon, incorporate to the ingredients in the bowl and knead slightly.
6. On the previously greased round pan, press the dough down with your fingers so that it is flat and in shape.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes.
8. Cool for a few minutes and remove from the pan, then finish cooling on a wire rack.
9. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
Don't overbake, otherwise the panforte will be hard!
Keep the cake wrapped in cellophane for up to 2 weeks.
Cut in thin slices and serve with a homemade (or not) limoncello or vanilla ice cream.
* If you can't find them, then use 1/3 Tsp ground cinnamon, 1/5 Tsp ground cloves, 1/5 Tsp ground nutmeg, 1/5 Tsp ground Coriander, 1/5 ground anise and a pinch ground allspice.
(Siena -Pic by Marek Lubiarz www.trekearth.com)
(Panforte -Pic by www.dolcimessagi.it)