Panforte with Nuts 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.
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 Christmas cookies in the pantry and you’ll be ready for entertaining anytime.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Sure, Panforte 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 in the refrigerator and 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.
The ingredients you need for this recipe are simple.
- dried or candied fruit
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.
- Toast nuts and chop fruit.
- Mix in dry ingredients.
- Stir through sugar, honey and chocolate. It will be hard to mix but that’s just right.
- Press into prepared pan and bake.
Tips for success
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.
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
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- 1 cup blanched almonds toasted
- 1 cup hazelnuts nuts toasted
- 1 cup chopped dried figs stems discarded
- ½ cup chopped candied orange slices
- 1 cup plain flour
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup honey
- 1 cup caster sugar
- ⅔ cup chopped 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 and bring to the boil then simmer 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.