Panforte

Panforte is a classic Italian Christmas dessert.  It’s a very dense, rich confection loaded with nuts, candied or dried fruit, and spices (hence its name, which means “strong bread”).  Panforte has a long history. It was made by apothecaries, old-time pharmacists, and it was only intended for the nobility because the ingredients used to make it were expensive delicacies.  It may also date back to 13th century Siena in Tuscany, with the people from Siena definitely claiming their city as the Panforte capital of Italy.

You can interchange the nuts and fruits as you like, especially as you may have some leftovers in the house from other Christmas baking.  The dried figs and stem ginger were extras I added to this recipe for example.   Panforte keeps so well that you’ll have delicious leftovers long after the holiday season, and maybe into the new year – although I doubt it’ll last long.  Panforte is also special to gift to loved ones.

If you bake this Panforte in one round 18cm spring-form tin, your Panforte will be 4cm high.  If you prefer to have it 2cm high, divide the dose between two tins, and you’ll have two Panforte – one for you and one to gift! 

Panforte 

  • 350g raw almonds
  • 100g candied orange peel
  • 100g candied citron peel (cedro in Italian)
  • 5 dried figs
  • 2 ‘balls’ stem ginger
  • 150g flour
  • 1 teaspoon of spices: nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, ginger
  • 150g honey (miele di arancio – orange tree honey*)
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • edible rice paper
  • Icing Sugar to decorate top
  1. Line the base of an 18cm round spring-form tin with rice paper, and line the sides with baking paper.
  2. In an oven pre-heated to 180°C, roast almonds in a baking tray for a few minutes.
  3. Chop candied peel, ginger and figs into small pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, add the flour, spices, almonds, ginger, figs and mixed peel and stir until fruit and nuts are covered with flour.
  5. In a saucepan, add the icing sugar, water and honey.  Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the syrup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the hot syrup to the fruit and nut mixture.  Stir quickly with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Spread the mixture evenly into prepared pan, pressing lightly with the back of a spoon.
  8. Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes (mixture will be soft and appear underdone but will firm as it cools).
  9. Remove from tin carefully and cool completely before slicing.  Sprinkle generously with icing sugar.

*Orange Tree Honey –’Miele di Arancio‘. This is a characteristic honey from the south of Italy.  It has an aromatic fragrance of orange blossoms and it crystallizes finely to a compact consistency and creamy colour.

 

PANFORTE

Panforte è un classico dolce natalizio italiano. È una confezione molto densa, ricca di noci, frutta candita o secca e spezie (da qui il suo nome, che significa “pane forte”). Panforte ha una lunga storia. Era fabbricato da farmacisti, ed era destinato alla nobiltà solo perché gli ingredienti usati per prepararlo erano prelibatezze costose. Potrebbe anche risalire al 13 ° secolo a Siena in Toscana, con i senesi che rivendicano definitivamente la loro città come capitale dell’Italia di Panforte.
Puoi scambiare noci e frutta a tuo piacimento, soprattutto perché potresti avere alcuni avanzi in casa da altre pasticcerie natalizie. I fichi secchi e lo zenzero sono gli extra che ho aggiunto a questa ricetta, ad esempio. Panforte si mantiene così bene che avrai degli avanzi deliziosi per molto tempo dopo le festività natalizie, e magari nel nuovo anno, anche se dubito che durerà a lungo. Il panforte è speciale da regalare ai propri
cari.

Se si cuoce questo Panforte in un stampo a diametro 18cm, il tuo Panforte sarà alto 4 cm. Se preferisci avere un’altezza di 2 cm, dividi la dose tra due stampi e avrai due Panforte – uno per te e uno per regalare!

  • 350g di mandorle
  • 100g arancia candita
  • 100g cedro candita
  • 5 fichi secchi
  • 2 ‘palline’ zenzero candito in sciroppo
  • 150g farina (tipo manitoba)
  • 1cucchiaino di spezie macinati (chiodi di garofano, noce moscata, coriandolo, cannella e zenzero)
  • 150g zucchero a velo
  • 150g miele d’arancia
  • 3 cucchiai d’acqua
  • 1 ostia alimentare
  • zucchero a velo abbondante per decorare
  1. Preparare un stampo a cerniera (diametro 18 cm), foderandolo con l’ostia sul fondo e la carta da forno su i lati.
  2. Preriscaldare il forno a 180° C.  Tostare le mandorle per un paio di minuti.
  3. Tagliare a pezzettini l’arancio e cedro canditi.
  4. In una ciotola mescolare insieme la farina, le spezie, i canditi e le mandorle tostate.
  5. In una pentola, aggiungere il miele, lo zucchero a velo e l’acqua.  Mescolare su fuoco basso, portarlo a bollire e poi lasciare il sciroppo sobbollire per 5 minuti.
  6. Versare lo sciroppo sopra la farina, noci e canditi e amalgamare tutti gli ingredienti.
  7. Mettere il composto dentro lo stampo e renderlo piatto con l’aiuta di un cucchiaio.
  8. Far cuocere in forno preriscaldato a 180° C per 30 minuti.
  9. Fuori forno, lasciarlo raffreddare per circa 20 minuti prima di togliere lo stampo.  Staccata la carta forno e far raffreddare il Panforte completamente, decorandolo con abbondante zucchero a velo.


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