Friday, 18 January 2013


“Sweet is the memory of past troubles.” -  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts, and resembles fruitcake or Lebkuchen. It may date back to 13th century Siena, in Italy’s Tuscany region. Documents from 1205 AD show that panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax or tithe which was due on the seventh of February that year. Literally, panforte means “strong bread” which refers to the spicy flavour. The original name of panforte was “panpepato” (peppered bread), due to the strong pepper used in the cake. There are references to the Crusaders carrying panforte, a durable confection, with them on their quests, and to the use of panforte in surviving sieges.

Panforte di Siena


150 g unsalted almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped
75 g unsalted hazelnuts, roasted coarsely chopped
75 g unsalted pistachios, roasted coarsely chopped
100 g candied orange peel, chopped
75 g flour
30 g pure cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
Pinch white pepper
100 g sugar
200 g clear honey
35 g butter
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 150˚C.
Mix the nuts with the orange peel.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and spices and mix through the nuts.
Gently heat the sugar, honey and butter in a pan till the sugar has dissolved and let it cook on higher heat for 3-4 minutes.
Quickly mix the syrup through the dry mix, scoop in a round tin (covered with baking paper) and press in in with your fingers.
Let it bake in the oven for 40 minutes and cool down in the tin. Remove the paper and dust with icing sugar.
Serve tiny portions. The cutting will need some force!

This post is part of the Food Friday meme,
and also part of the Food Trip Friday meme.


  1. It is so cool that panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax which was due each February.

    Of course the taste is delicious and the good religious people in their monastery would have loved eating what I suppose was a very special treat.

    But lots of monasteries themselves specialised in delicious alcoholic drinks eg liqueurs. How perfect!

  2. it's interesting that this was used as a tax currency in ancient times.:p must be decadent!
    and i only have some brownies here--lucky monks!:p