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Panforte di Siena (Siena Cake)

Specialty of Siena, Tuscan Region, Italy


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 oz almonds
3 oz hazelnuts
3 oz pine nuts
2 oz dried apricots, coursely chopped
2 oz candied pineapple, coursely chopped
2 oz candied ginger, coursely chopped
2 oz candied citrus peels (orange and lemon), coursely chopped
2 oz dried dates or figs, coursely chopped
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 oz semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace (or 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
powdered sugar (for sprinkling)


  1. Chop nuts, apricots, pineapple, ginger, orange and lemon peels.
  2. Heavily butter the bottom and sides of a 8 inch or 9 inch cake springform pan (the one with removal bottom).
  3. Line bottom with parchment paper. In a bowl, mix nuts, candied citrus, cinnamon, coriander, mace, all spice, and flour until the flour coats each particle.In a deep pan, over high heat, combine sugar, honey, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir frequently.
  4. Bring to a boil and let it gently boil until the syrup reaches the "soft ball" stage (238°F). Add chocolate to saucepan, stir until melted, and remove from heat.
  5. Pour hot syrup into almond mixture and mix thoroughly. It will be very stiff.
  6. Press the mixture into the greased 8 - 9 inch springform pan. Fluted sides are traditional, but not essential. Bake for 30 minutes at 300°F.
  7. Remove to a cooling rack. Remove the PanForte from the pan.
  8. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.
  9. Serve in small wedges with expresso, tea, brandy, or dessert wine.
  10. May be kept indefinitely if wrapped airtight in a aluminum foil. Refrigeration not needed.

1 cake cut 36 thin slices.

Courtesy of people of Siena.

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