Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert, which originated in Sienna during the 13th century. It is made up of nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and spices and held together by a small amount of flour and sugar syrup. Panforte also known as “Panpepato” meaning “strong bread” derives its name from its spicy flavour and hard texture. Interestingly enough one of the ingredients used in this festive dessert is white pepper! This is due to the abundance of spices in the middle ages. Another fun fact is that it was paid to the monks as a form of tax! I wouldn’t mind being paid in panforte!
Panforte is my mother’s absolute favourite and I make it for her every Christmas. It is hard to cut and does require some muscle power but it is worth it! A small slice with a cup of tea is simply delicious!!
- 130 grams almonds
- 85g hazelnuts
- 85g pistachios
- 50g mixed peel
- 100g dried figs (approximately 5-6 figs), roughly sliced
- 75g plain flour
- 30g cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp. cloves
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. white pepper
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g clear honey
- 35g unsalted butter
- Icing sugar to decorate
- 1. Preheat the oven to 150 °C and line the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform tin with baking paper.
- 2. In a large bowl mix the nuts with the mixed peel and figs.
- 3. Sift the flour, cocoa, spices and mix through the nuts.
- 4. In a medium saucepan gently heat the sugar, honey and butter together until the sugar has dissolved. Cook on high heat for approximately 3-4 minutes. (The mixture will simmer and foam up). Stir often.
- 5. Quickly pour the syrup into the dry ingredients and using a steady wooden spoon, mix until all the ingredients are well combined. (You will need some arm muscle- keep mixing until all the flour is not visible).
- 6. Scoop mixture into prepared tin and press down evenly with your fingers.
- 7. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes and cool down in tin. (The panforte will be gooey and sticky to touch but it will harden once cooled).
- 8. Once panforte has cooled completely, remove from tin and dust the top with icing sugar.
- 9. Serve small portions. It will be hard and take some force from you but its worth it! Enjoy!!
- Store panforte in an airtight container in the fridge.