How to make the perfect panforte - GulfToday

How to make the perfect panforte

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Panforte is a traditional Italian sweet. TNS

Amy Bizzarri

Panforte is a peppery, dried fruit and nut-based spice cake born in the central Tuscan hill town of Siena in the Middle Ages.

Several legendary origin stories surround panforte. Some culinary historians believe it was inspired by lokum, aka Turkish delight, the ancient date- and nut-based confection popular in different forms in several Middle Eastern countries to this day, brought back to Tuscany by medieval-era crusaders. According to local lore, Sienese soldiers won the Battle of Montaperti against their rivals, the Florentines, in 1260, thanks in part to the spiced treat, which is not only packed with protein-powered energy but also travels well.

Though the list of ingredients is long, preparing panforte is quite simple. The secret to making exceptional panforte is to choose your ingredients wisely: Use only freshly ground spices; organic, farm fresh nuts and dried fruits; and a top-notch honey, like millefiori honey (aka wildflower honey).

Panforte keeps well — its flavours deepen over time — and can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two months.

PANFORTE TRADIZIONALE

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 45 minutes

Makes: 16 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups peeled, coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted

1 1/2 cups peeled, coarsely chopped almonds, toasted

1 cup soft, dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1 cup soft, dried figs, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup candied orange peel, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup candied lemon peel, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

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The secret to making exceptional panforte is to use high quality ingredients, including freshly ground spices; organic, farm fresh nuts and dried fruits; and a top-notch honey. TNS

Method

1. Heat your oven to 300 degrees F. You will use an 8-inch springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper (the same size as the bottom of the pan) and place on the inside bottom of the pan. Grease the parchment with butter.

2. Mix the flour, nuts, dried and candied fruit, spices and salt in a mixing bowl.

3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the sugar, honey and butter until the mixture reaches a boil. Keep stirring until it reaches a temperature of about 230 degrees F, usually about 2 minutes after reaching the boiling point.

4. Pour the boiling syrup over the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Add the vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined and the ingredients are well-distributed. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan and press it compactly into the pan with your fingers, smoothing the top with a spatula.

5. Bake, 45 minutes. Let cool completely, then remove the panforte from the pan. Sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar.

Nutrition information

Per serving: 312 calories

Fat: 17g

Saturated fat: 2g

Cholesterol: 6mg

Carbohydrates: 39g

Sugar: 28g

Protein: 6g

Sodium: 82mg

Fibre: 5g

Tribune News Service