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  • Makes 1x 24cm panforte

This densely packed cake is a traditional fruit cake from Sienna. In earlier centuries panforte was a common cake or bread, now it is most often served at Christmas.


  • ¾ cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup finely chopped glace citron
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped candied orange peel
  • ½ cup finely chopped candied lemon peel
  • ½ cup flour
  • grated rind 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon each ground cloves, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon
  • ¾ cup liquid honey
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted


  1. Prepare the cake tin (see cook's tips). Roast the hazelnuts at 180ºC for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a dry tea towel to cool. Rub hazelnuts in the tea towel to remove the skins.
  2. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and almonds and place in a bowl with the citron, orange and lemon peel, flour, lemon rind and spices and toss together.
  3. Put the honey, sugar and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until the mixture comes to the boil. Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 116ºC (soft ball stage). Working quickly, pour the hot syrup into the dry ingredients, mix as fast as you can and then transfer to the prepared cake tin. Press out evenly with a spatula or your hand (rinse hand under cold water first to prevent burning).
  4. Bake at 150ºC for 40-50 minutes. The panforte will be bubbling, slightly runny and uncooked looking, but should be an even colour all over. Remove from oven and set aside to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or until 'set'. Turn out of tin and remove baking paper, but not rice paper. Place on a cake rack, covered, until firm. Serve in wedges, dusted with icing sugar. Panforte, well-wrapped in foil, may be kept in an airtight container for up to a month.

Cooks Tips

- Prepare the cake tin before starting. Grease the base and sides of a 24cm springform cake tin. Line base and halfway up the sides with baking paper. Grease the baking paper. Line base with rice paper. - Use a sugar thermometer for best results. If you are cooking the syrup without one, remove the syrup from the stove each time you test it for the soft ball stage. This is where a little syrup dropped into cold water an dthen rubbed between your fingers forms a soft pliable ball. You will need to work quickly. - To make a small panforte: This mixture will make 4x 10cm panforte. Line the 4x 10cm springform tins as instructed above. Work quickly to divide and press the mixture firmly into the tins, before the panforte gets too cold and won't mould easily. Bake at 150ºC for 20-25 minutes until cooked. Cool in the tins for 10 mintues or until 'set'. Turn out, remove the baking paper, but not the rice paper and cool on a rack. - Ideally, use orange and lemon strips that have been candied and are sold in selected delicatessens. Glace citron is also available at good delicatessens. - Use a liquid honey not a creamed honey.

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