Panforte di Siena


125 g (4 oz) 1 cup split whole almonds
125 g (4 oz) 3/4 cup hazelnuts
90 g (3 oz) 1/2 cup cut mixed peel
60 g (2 oz) 1/3 cup no-soak dried apricots
60 g (2 oz) glace or crystallized pineapple
grated rind of 1 large orange
60 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
125 g (4 oz) 1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar
175 g (6 oz) 1/2 cup honey icing (confectioners') sugar, for dredging


1. Toast the almonds under the grill (broiler) until lightly browned and place in a bowl. Toast the hazelnuts until the skins split. Place on a dry tea towel (dish cloth) and rub off the skins. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and add to the almonds with the mixed peel.

2. Chop the apricots and pineapple fairly finely, add to the nuts with the orange rind and mix well.

3. Sift the flour with the cocoa and cinnamon, add to the nut mixture and mix evenly.

4. Line a round 20 cm/8 inch cake tin or deep loose-based flan tin with baking parchment.

5. Put the sugar and honey into a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves, then boil gently for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens and begins to tin a deeper shade of brown. Quickly add to the nut mixture and mix evenly. Turn into the prepared tin and level the top using the back of a damp spoon.

6. Cook in a preheated oven, 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2 for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin until cold. Take out of the tin and carefully peel off the paper. Before serving, dredge the cake heavily with sifted icing (confectioners') sugar. Serve in very thin slices.

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