Sienese Panforte

I wanted to re-create this delectable treat ever since eating it in Siena, Italy, 10 years ago. This spiced sweet is somewhere between a candy and a cake. If you have a fruitcake recipe, this may replace it for all time.
By / Photography By D. Lucas Landis | December 01, 2013


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, salt, figs, candied citrus, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, nutmeg and coriander. Stir well.

Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan: Butter the bottom, place a piece of round parchment paper in the bottom, butter again and flour. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325.

In a thick-bottomed pan over medium heat, place the sugar, molasses, dark chocolate, honey and powdered sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to continue cooking for 5–10 minutes, until the mixtures begins to thicken just a bit. Remove pan from heat and add to the fruit and spice mixture. Stir using a wooden spoon. The mixture will be very sticky and dense.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out with the wooden spoon. With wet fingers, press the mixture into the pan and level it out.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10–15 minutes.

Remove from pan and place on a baking rack to cool completely. Dust with the powdered sugar and slice.

Panforte keeps well on the counter for about 5–7 days or stores well in the freezer.

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  • 1/2 cup flour, plus more for dusting the baking pan
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup dried figs, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup candied citrus peel, chopped (see separate recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter for buttering the baking pan
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting on the finished cake
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