A classic Christmas dessert! Panforte can be described as an Italian fruit cake, with dried fruits, almonds and hazelnuts. Great to have around for holiday gatherings!
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Panforte is one of my go-to holiday treat. It is so easy to make and simply ‘tastes like Christmas’.
WHAT IS PANFORTE?
Panforte is a traditional fruit cake from Siena, Tuscany. Nowadays though, you see it in almost every region in Italy, especially during the holidays.
It can be described as slightly spicy, a bit chewy — but one thing is certain, it contains a LOT of nuts and dried fruits.
While this recipe does not follow the traditional ingredients per se, I have opted to use the two most common types of nuts that are used in making panforte (regardless of the Italian region).
HOW LONG DOES PANFORTE KEEP?
I normally keep it for one and a half to two months.
Just make sure you keep it in a tight container.
HOW TO MAKE PANFORTE
CAN I ADD OTHER SPICES IN THIS PANFORTE RECIPE?
I know some people add pepper in it. Hence the ‘spicy‘ part. Tried that – did not like it.
Feel free to add it though, you might like it.
IS IT OK IF I DON’T BLANCH THE ALMONDS FOR THIS ITALIAN CHRISTMAS CAKE?
You can skip blanching the almonds if you want but roasting them makes a difference in the over-all flavor.
CAN I ADD DRIED LEMON PEEL IN THIS ITALIAN FRUIT CAKE?
I’ve tried some panforte with both candied lemon and orange peel.
But personally, I prefer to just use candied orange peel and replace the lemon peel with dried figs.
I even tried adding dried apricots.
The result was ok, but I think the result was way better when I replace the dried apricots with semi-sweet chocolate chips.
HELPFUL TIPS ON MAKING THIS PANFORTE RECIPE
- Make sure the sugar mixture is warm (NOT HOT though) when you pour it into the flour mixture. This helps in melting the chocolate chips as you combine them all together.
- Do not hesitate to use your hands when combining the mixture. It can get really hard, especially when you’ve placed it into the baking pan.
- Always sprinkle powdered sugar on top. If you’re worried it might be too sweet, use a bit less sugar on the mixture.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH ITALIAN FRUIT CAKE?
We love pairing it with sweet wine, after a meal – and with coffee for breakfast.
Nah, what do I know? Just try it with your favorite drink! 🙂
FOR OTHER CHRISTMAS TREATS, CHECK OUT THESE OTHER POSTS –
OR IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MORE CAKE IDEAS, CHECK OUT MY CAKES COLLECTION!
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups whole almonds, blanched and toasted
- 2 & 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup candied orange peel
- 3/4 cup dried figs, chopped
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- pinch clove powder
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar (plus 2 tbsp for serving)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup cold water
- butter and flour, for greasing pan
- Mix flour, clove powder, nutmeg, salt, almonds, hazelnuts, candied orange, dried figs and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
- Combine honey and powdered sugar in a small pan. Put pan over medium-low heat and dissolve sugar. When it starts to boil, add a cup of cold water. Stir to combine water with the honey mixture. Remove pan from the heat.
- Add sugar mixture to the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- Pour combined mixture on the greased pan. Press mixture to even it out. You can use your hands to do this.
- Place pan in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Slice. Serve.
- Sugar mixture should be WARM, not HOT when you pour in into the flour mixture. This helps in melting the chocolate chips.
- Use your hands to combine the mixture. Spatula or wooden spoon would not help at all.
- You can use a different size of baking pan, but be mindful of the time. You need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.