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Panforte is a decadent, rich fruitcake and an Italian favourite. Originally from Siena, this traditional sweet can now be found throughout Italy and beyond. A chewy confection full of nuts and fruit, it is perfect served with coffee.

round cake of panforte with a few slices cut.
Panforte di Siena tastes of Christmas!

When we visited Siena, panforte was everywhere even on the breakfast table. In many stores, there were beautifully wrapped little cakes of goodness. With many varying flavours, there was something for everyone.

Traditionally only for Christmas, this spicy sweet is now available year-round and great to have anytime! Keep this cake in the refrigerator and these Italian butter cookies in the pantry and you’ll be ready for entertaining anytime.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Sure, Panforte di Siena is often available at good food stores so why bother making it at home? While this delicious confection might be easy to find, it is also quite expensive. Making panforte at home is quite simple and the result is delicious. The best reason to make your own panforte is that you can suit your tastebuds and make a variation using the ingredients you enjoy the most.

The best part about this recipe is that it actually is better if it’s made a few days before serving. The flavours develop and the cake sets for better slicing. So, make this and keep it on hand so you’ll never be caught out without anything to serve. Don’t just reserve this for coffee but add it to a cheeseboard to have with drinks or after dinner.

Ingredient notes

dried figs, nut, honey, sugar, flour, spices and candied oranges viewed from above.

The ingredients you need for this recipe are simple.

  • nuts
  • dried or candied fruit
  • spices
  • flour
  • chocolate
  • honey
  • sugar


This is a recipe that is totally up to your taste. I have used figs, candied orange slices, almonds and hazelnuts because that’s what I like. You could use any combination of dried or candied fruit and nuts. Change the spices if you prefer something different.  Just remember to keep to the measurements in the recipe. You can’t go wrong. This is a no-fail recipe.

Why not try:-

  • candied ginger, citron or other candied fruits.
  • dates, raisins, sultanas or currants.
  • walnuts, pistachios or pecans.
  • black or white pepper, cardamom, coriander or chilli powder.
  • white or milk chocolate.

These are just a few suggestions but this recipe is limited just to your imagination.


4 step images to prepare the recipe as in the recipe card.
  1. Toast nuts and chop fruit.
  2. Mix in dry ingredients.
  3. Boil the sugar and honey for a few minutes then add the chocolate. Add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Press into prepared pan and bake.

Tips for success and FAQ’s

The most important step not to skip is the toasting of the nuts. Just 10 minute in a moderately hot oven will bring out the flavour of nuts. Whenever you cook or bake with nuts, be sure to toast first. It’s a simple step that makes all the difference.

Also, don’t over bake the panforte because it will be too firm once cooled. The middle will still be soft when it’s ready. Check by carefully pressing the centre. Your finger should come away clean.

Where did panforte originate?

Panforte originated in the Italian region of Tuscany back in the 13th century or maybe even earlier. It is derived from a cake known as panpepato or cake with pepper. Pepper was the spice of choice in the original version and can be included even today.

Can I make this recipe gluten free?

Yes, however you must use “1 for 1” gluten free all purpose flour or baking mix.

How long will panforte di Siena keep?

Tightly wrapped in plastic, it will keep for about 3-4 weeks at cool room temperature or in the fridge. Alternatively, freeze well wrapped for up to 6 months.

round cake of chocolate and nut confection with a few slices cut.

This post was first published on the 20th of December 2011. It has been updated with new photos, improved recipe and tips.

More Christmas recipes

Crostoli or Angel’s wings
Gingerbread Pizzelle
Italian Fig Cookies
Gingerbread Cupcakes from Sugar Salt Magic
Snowman Chocolate Bark from Sweet Caramel Sunday

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round cake of panforte with a few slices cut

Panforte Recipe

Panforte with Nut and Figs is an Italian favourite. Originally from Siena, this rich sweet can now be found throughout Italy and beyond. A chewy confection full of nuts and fruit, it is perfect served with coffee.
4.99 from 86 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings:20 people
Author: Marcellina


  • 1 cup (150 grams) blanched almonds toasted
  • 1 cup  (135 grams) hazelnuts nuts toasted and skins discarded
  • 1 cup (180 grams) chopped dried figs stems discarded
  • ½ cup (40 grams) chopped candied orange
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose (plain) flour
  • ¼ cup  (25 grams) cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (180mls) honey
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar (castor)
  • cup (115 grams) chopped semisweet (dark) chocolate


  • Preheat oven to 320°F/160ºC. Grease and line a 9in/23cm springform pan.
  • Combine nuts, figs and candied orange slices in a large bowl.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa, spices, and salt and combine with nut mixture.
  • Combine the honey and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat to dissolve the sugar then simmer over low heat for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir through the chocolate until melted then remove from heat.
  • Pour into the bowl with the flour mixture, nuts, and fruit and mix until well combined.
  • You will find that once you add the chocolate, and remaining ingredients the mixture becomes quite firm and you will need some muscle to mix it. That all as it should be.
  • Press the mixture into a prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Cool in pan before turning out and slicing thinly to serve.


Tips for Success
  • Don’t skip toasting the nuts.
  • Remove the panforte from the oven while the middle is still soft otherwise the cake will be too firm.
Tightly wrapped in plastic, it will keep for about 3-4 weeks at cool room temperature or in the fridge. Alternatively, freeze well wrapped for up to 6 months
For more information, please read the post in full.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 269mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Ive just made this – gosh it was hard to mix!
    Baked for 35 mins at 160 – really doesn’t look any different than when it went into the oven!

    1. That’s correct. It will be hard. If you’ve over cooked the honey and sugar it might be even harder to stir. It won’t change in appearance in the oven. Baking is to set it.

  2. 4 stars
    I’m excited to taste this recipe. I just baked it and my house smells heavenly. However, the baking time has me concerned. After 30 minutes it was soupy in the center instead of soft. I baked it in 10 minute increments and it was still soupy. After an additional 30 minutes it was still rather wet in the center but edges were getting dark. I hope I didn’t overtake it but I’m salivating! Will post about results 🤞🏼

    1. That’s exactly how your kitchen should smell! The panforte will be soft in the centre – after all there’s a lot of molten chocolate and sugar in there so that’s normal. It should set when it cools. Hopefully it hasn’t overcooked.

  3. 5 stars
    Looks perfect, I’m excited to try it. And I have a question. How would this work in mini springform pans -so I can spread the joy with more families.

    1. I have successfully divided this mixture into two 6 inch pans baking for just 15-20 minutes depending if you want it more firm or not. I haven’t gone smaller than that but I think it would work though I’m not sure about the baking time.

      1. Ok, and thank you for such a quick response! My pans are about 3 inch’s wide, so I may have to make the regular size and divide it that way. They’re just so cute, but I don’t want to overcook … Undercook them! LOL

      2. 5 stars
        Hi! Update
        It mostly worked, I wish I could send a pic! I only had 4 mini pans, so they were thick, and I may have over cooked them. I couldn’t find the orange and didn’t feel like making it, so I used dried apricot as the additional fruit. Yummy! Next time I’ll add even more fig😋
        Question, do I have to use the parchment? They looked rather ratty, I’d like a smoother edge. This was a test run ( gifting them out) I’m making it again for the holidays- but maybe the regular size.
        Thanks again, the best recipe out there!

        1. Hello Lorayne, I’m happy to hear that they mostly worked and that you’re happy with the taste. Dried apricot is a good substitution. I like adding candied crystallized ginger too. Are you meaning the parchment paper to line the pan? Yes, I would because it can easily stick hard to the pan. To make it less ratty, grease the pan well before lining with parchment. This way the parchment will stick to the surface and be much neater. I hope that helps.

  4. Hi Marcellina, this recipe looks great, I’ll be trying it this weekend. I’ve looked at your advice for weights and I’m wondering which size measuring cups and spoons are you using? Our measuring cup sizes in Australia are slightly different to the American sizes. If you have the alternate metric measurements that would be fabulous.
    Cheers 🥂

    1. Hi Rosemary, this recipe has been prepared using US cup measures. However it will work with Australian cups as well. The difference in this type of recipe is negligible. I’ve gone in and added a couple of weights that might help you. However what is more important is how you measure the flour. The flour must be stirred to lighten then spooned into the measuring cup before leveling off with a knife. Don’t dip the cup into the flour or pack the flour into the cup. This makes a big difference.

  5. 5 stars
    BEST PANFORTE RECIPE EVER!!! Easy to follow, just make sure you do follow the recipe to the letter. My go-to recipe every time. Thanks Marcellina! 😋

  6. 5 stars
    Have not made this as yet but the recipe looks amazing. Hoping to make if for gifting for Diwali! I would prefer not to use the candied orange peel. Would I just omit this or should I replace it with something else?

    1. The candied orange could be left out completely but I think it would be nicer with some type of fruit. Try replacing it with other candied fruit or ginger. Alternatively add dried sweet fruit like apricots or dates. Let me know how it goes, Anita.

  7. I absolutely loved making this recipe while so easy to make. However, I think I must be doing something wrong. Please help.
    I’ve made it 3 times now to try and get a better texture. I’ve followed the recipe to a tee but it comes out quite hard each time. I’ve even reduce the cooking time to 20 mins, but it’s still hard. What am I doing wrong???

    1. Lynda, panforte is meant to be quite firm, chewy and almost candy-like. If you prefer a softer texture, you can reduce the flour to 1/2 cup. I haven’t even done this because I like the firm texture though I think it would work. Instead of reducing the flour, a 1/4 cup of water added to the honey and sugar syrup would also make it more soft. Be careful not to caramelized the syrup. Hope that helps.

  8. 5 stars
    I have never tried this, but it looks easy and delicious.
    I’ll save the recipe for my future reference.

  9. 5 stars
    A marvelous dessert recipe! We had something similar in Switzerland and your version was just as yummy!