Panforte Senese

Wow, almost 3 weeks without a new post. And it’s the season for baking. Something I’ve been doing but not enough time to post about it in a relaxed manner. So what have I been doing for the last 3 weeks? Taking care of my sick kids (not all 3 weeks though). Also I spent quite a lot of time thinking about what to make for Christmas since I invited A’s family and mine to come spend that with us. I’m not the type to buy ready-made stuff and also not the type to keep it simple 🙂 so I’ve started baking and cooking since last weekend. The dinner will be Italian(-ish). I’m not going to give everything away because the family reads this blog as well 😉

Of course there will be a need for sweet stuff as well, maybe a little more than the average Italian family will serve for Christmas but in the sweets department I’m all for more is more 😉 Most stuff will be bite-size but it’s nice to have a variety of sweets to bite in 😉

Unfortunately not everything went according to plan up till now. I usually don’t repeat myself too much in the sweet department which means I want to try new recipes and especially new techniques. This resulted in some failures that I had/have to redo. This panforte I made was perfect the first time though. Not exactly nougat, not exactly cookie, I’d say it’s somewhere in between. Honey and sugar are cooked and mixed with nuts, candied orange and lemons, flour, spices and cocoa, and then baked. Traditionally baked in a round 20 cm (8 in) pan but I tripled the recipe and baked it in a large rectangular pan so I’d be able to cut out 9 mini panforte’s. By doing so I saved a lot of time by only making and baking the recipe once (and there were a lot of yummy scraps left-over to munch on :). The thickness is the thickness you’d have for a regular one, only instead of being 20 cm (8 in) they are only 9 cm (3 ½ in).

The recipe calls for candied orange peel and candied lemon peel. I was lucky to have Italian orange peel in syrup which I drained and let dry for a day before chopping. Candied lemon is not something you’d easily find in the Netherlands and I didn’t have the time to make my own unfortunately. What I did instead was use sukade (the candied peel of the Citrus medica), though a citrus fruit it doesn’t really taste like lemon, at least not the candied version you can buy here. To compensate for the lack of taste I added the zest of 2 lemons.

The panforte turned out perfect and delicious, the good thing about this nougat/cookie is that it keeps for several weeks so you can start making them early (that is if I would have posted about it earlier ;). There are more panforte recipes but this is one from Sienna. From what I’ve read about it, it’s something that is typically served at/around Christmas time in Italy.

Even though not a typical cookie, I’m sending this recipe over to Susan’s Eat Christmas Cookies.

Below is the original recipe. If you’d like to do what I did and make 9 mini versions, just triple the recipe and use a 27 cm x 35 cm (11 x 14 in) rectangular pan.

Panforte Senese (from the Dutch version of Culinaria Italia by Ludwig Könemann)

makes a 20 cm (8 in) panforte

75 g (2 ¾ oz) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned, coarsely chopped

75 g (2 ¾ oz) almonds, blanched and skinned, coarsely chopped

175 g (6 ¼ oz) candied lemon and orange peel, finely chopped

50 g (1 ¾ oz) flour

25 g (1 oz) cocoa powder

½ ts cinnamon

½ ts mixed spices

100 g (3 ½ oz) caster sugar

100 g (3 ½ oz) honey

for dusting:

2 tbs confectioner’s sugar

1 ts cinnamon

Line the bottom of a round 20 cm (8 in) (springform) pan with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).

Mix nuts, peel, flour, cocoa, cinnamon and mixed spices.

Mix sugar and honey in a large sauce pan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved/melted. Raise the temperature and allow the mixture to cook until 115°C (240°F). Immediately add the nut, peel and flour mixture and stir till combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a wet spoon. Work as quickly as possible because the mixture will firm up when it cools.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan. Invert and place the right side up. Generously dust with a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon, and cut it in wedges.

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17 Responses to Panforte Senese

  1. Rosa says:

    I love Panforte! Yours looks perfect and really delicious! With some vanilla ice cream, mmmhhhh…

    Merry Christmas and Happy New year!



  2. Hannah says:

    So good to see you posting again, and with such lovely pictures as well! I must admit that I hate traditional “fruit cake”, but I would definitely give this version a try!

  3. Oh goodness Linda this is so incredible! So beautiful!! This is gorgeous!

  4. Well this is a winning recipe to return with. I love the shot too; it looks so deliciously rustic. Happy Holidays!

  5. Elra says:

    OMG, I love panforte. Looks so delish. Thanks for sharing the recipe.



  6. Emilia says:

    Those pictures are really beautiful and I’m sure the cake was delicious, it certainly looks and sounds very good 🙂

  7. Hi.

    I made a panforte from Nick Malgieri’s recipe and posted it this week too.

    Check mine out.

    Yours looks better than mine!

    Beautiful job on my favorite of all holiday confections!

    Stacey Snacks

  8. grace says:

    oh my. that is the densest slice of anything i think i’ve ever seen! it’s heavenly and absolutely amazing–way to come back with a bang!

  9. hanne says:

    Wow, that panforte looks great. And looking through the list of ingredients, I can see it must be delicious, too!

  10. Lien says:

    beautiful, I love panforte with those fragrant spices. Love your pictures! It’s a great gift too!

  11. Farhan says:

    Hi Linda,

    Hope you and your little bump 🙂 are well. I love panforte,and I like the idea of cutting out mini pieces to get perfectly round and even topped cylinders.

    Wishing u all the joy of the season! Can’t wait to see what you’ll cook up!

  12. ovenhaven says:

    I was just wondering about you! Glad to have you back, dearie 🙂 Hope you and your lil one are well. I’ve never had panforte, but this sounds really good! Especially with all the different nuts and spices 🙂

  13. I can almost smell it! Have wonderful holidays Linda, I’m sure that panforte is delicious!

  14. Jude says:

    I love this stuff. I’ve even made an ice cream based on its flavors before 🙂

  15. Vera says:

    Linda, I hope your little ones feel better now.

    Your panforte looks delicious! And the idea of tripling the recipe is so clever!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Linda!

  16. Miri says:

    I’ve never had panforte, but it looks beautiful and delicious, so I’d definitely like a taste of that 🙂 Happy Holidays dear Linda!

  17. jennifer says:

    delicious! i love these kinds of fruit cakes with candied fruit in them. some don’t. can you believe it!? hope you’re having a great holiday. Christmas in the Netherlands must be beautiful.

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