Panforte Recipe

This is a very Christmas-feeling sweetmeat, but can really be enjoyed any time of year. I’ve drastically reduced the amount of spice to make it more of an anytime treat. To give it the full-on yuletide treatment, triple the cinnamon and double the cloves. For those who like theirs spicy — and the original version of this dish were quite spicy — add a teaspoon or so or fresh ground black pepper. You can even spike it with a little cayenne if you want!

16 ounces (3 cups) blanched whole almonds
9 ounces (1 3/4 cups) whole hazelnuts, skinned or unskinned
12 ounces (2 cups) diced candied orange peel
6 ounces (1 cup) dried apricots, diced
5 ounces (1 cup) dried figs, diced
5 ounces (1 cup) bleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
16 ounces ounces (2 1/4 cups) sugar
16 ounces honey (1 1/3)
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position a rack in the center of your oven. Prepare a single 9″ layer cake pan for baking like so. Chop the nuts and dried fruits and combine them in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa and spices. Combine the two mixtures thoroughly.

Combine the honey, sugar and butter in a saucepan. Cook the mixture to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour this mixture over the fruit and flour mixture. Stir everything together and scrape into the cake pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until the panforte is bubbling. Cool the pan completely on a wire rack. De-pan the panforte and wrap it in parchment paper, then plastic wrap. Store it in a cool, dry place for up to 3 weeks. When you’re ready to serve it, dust it lightly with powdered sugar and cut it into thin slices.

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20 Responses to Panforte Recipe

  1. Bronwyn says:

    No rice paper? Doesn’t seem like panforte to me unless it’s got rice paper. It lasts for waaaay longer than 3 weeks too, I have kept it for months. It’s an excellent thing to make and post to people for Xmas.

    • joepastry says:

      You, madam, are a stickler for authenticity. I’ll see if I can score any!

      - Joe

      • Bronwyn says:

        I didn’t ask for communion wafers!

      • Bronwyn says:

        And far from being authentic, when I make this stuff I use whatever dried fruit and nuts are in the pantry up to the proper weight. I’ve used all sorts of things. Prunes, raisins, papaya, figs, apricots, peaches, dates, glacé cherries, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, brazils. Anything and everything.

        • joepastry says:

          I think that approach is very much in keeping with the spirit of the thing. In days past I have no doubt that people used what was around…thus the almost innumerable versions of panforte you find in Tuscany. Other than fruits, nuts, honey and spices I think the proportions were pretty much up to the maker!

          - Joe

  2. Tora says:

    Such an exotic cake, wow!

  3. Chana says:

    I don’t know anything about this stuff, but looking over the recipe I’m surprised that there’s no alcohol in there. Does panforte ever contain brandy or a flavored liqueur? The recipe looks like it’s screaming for some alcohol. (Or maybe that’s just me screaming!)

    • joepastry says:

      You’d think so, but in this case, no. There are probably some panforte recipes out there that call for spirits of some kind, but I haven’t come across any!

      - J

  4. DR says:

    I am so tempted to add nutmeg? Usually cut the dry fruits with scissors, find it easier. Candied peels ready. Walnuts, haselnuts and almonds measured and chopped. ;)

    Separately made candied grapefruit peels. Success. Thanks for the recipe Joe.

  5. I really can’t wait to try this.

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