Thursday, January 2, 2014

Panforte di Siena - oh yes it's Christmas season!

Woah! Look at that, just when you think you end up having vacation, you suddenly find yourself too busy vacationing that you don't have time for that wonderfully Christmas-themed blog you have anyway. It feels like I'm making excuses by now- every post starts the same. These are just hectic times for me, but they're bound to wear off and then everything will go back to normal. Sort of. Depends on how broad your definition of normal is.


Back to the food! Look at how amazing that food looks. Ever heard of Panforte? Because if you haven't then you must try this recipe. If you already know what panforte is and like the taste then you must also make it. If you've already made panforte before than you must try this new recipe. And only, only, if you have a recipe for panforte that is the best ever according to your book, only then, will I allow you not to bake up this recipe. In that case, you must now make panforte according to your own recipe. (Oh, you're not getting away this time!)


Perhaps I should try a friendlier way of convincing people this stuff is amazingly delicious (think of dried fruits and nuts with spices, sweetened with honey- ah the decadence!) and perfect for the Christmas season.

Panforte di Siena
20cm/8 inch round tin - original by Roger Pizey

120 grams almonds
100 grams hazelnuts
85 grams pistachio nuts
275 grams mixed dried fruits*
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
100 grams flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
180 grams honey
180 grams dark sugar

1. Toast the nuts if preferred (in a non-stick pan on high heat for a few minutes. Or 5 minutes in the oven on 180C/360F.) Chop them coarsely.
2. Cut the dried fruits into small chunks.
3. Add the nuts and dried fruits together. Sift the flour and spices together and over the nuts and fruits until fully coated.
4. Heat the honey and sugar together in a pan on high heat. Keep stirring until all sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and leave until the bubbles start to rise up high. Keep stirring for 1 minute and take off the heat.
5. Pour the honey over the nuts and fruits and stir in until fully incorporated.
6. Bake in a preheated oven of 160 degrees Celsius of 320 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes. The panforte has to dry out in this time, not burn! Cover with aluminium foil if you feel the top may start to dry out too much.

*Dates and figs are definitely my favourite (I used 125 grams each).  A lot of recipes use candied or dried citrus fruit as well/only (I used 25 grams). I've seen apricots and plums as well.

Let's try the nice and friendly way of convincing you! Look at all the ingredients: almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios. To me it just screams luxury. Can you almost taste their soft flavours? Image popping them into the oven so they brown and their fragrant smells fill the room. Can you smell it? Can you feel how desperately you are wanting roasted nuts right now?

Good. Now think of winter: spiced drinks like gl├╝hwein or hot chocolate, spiced cookies, gingerbreads, spiced cakes like pumpkin cake and fruitcake. Are you with me on the spices? Hold that thought.


Now back to the nuts, slowly combine them with your spices. Add a bit of honey to sweeten it all up. Wait! There's more: think of summer. The really hot summers you get in Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy and Greece or the summers in India, Morocco or Egypt. Think of all those lovely fruits they have: dates, figs, peaches, plums and the citrus fruits: lemons, limes and oranges. Can you see their vibrant colours? Smell their freshness? Can you almost taste the juiciness of each and every one of them? Yes? Now dry them. Do they instantly turn a bit wintery to you? Do you think you could imagine them with spices, with their warm flavours, and honey, with it's gentle sweetness, and lastly with our soft and fragrant nuts?

Yes, it all sounds a bit overwhelming. If not a bit expensive. But hey, it's Christmas so we should treat ourselves! (Okay so technically it's no longer actually Christmas, but my Christmases tend to last halfway into January. It's the best season in the world! Can you blame me for it? Also, don't you guys have leftovers?)

I really hope you had a lovely, wonderful and fun Christmas! And I wish you all a Happy New Year! Did you do anything special for the New Year?

2 comments:

  1. This looks just amazing! I don't think I've ever had panforte, and certainly haven't made it, but you certainly, certainly convinced me that I should! Honestly, after reading your description all about how wonderfully decadent and indulgent it is, I was thrilled to glance through the ingredient list and see that it's also pretty healthy! You know me - when you can combine decadently delicious with healthy, that's my kinda recipe! I can always count on you to introduce me to new flavors and culinary techniques - love that! Pinning ASAP to share with all our THK followers! :D

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    1. Aww, you're so sweet! Hearing this kind of thing always makes my day :D Especially when it comes from someone who's an amazing blogger herself! Let me know how it turns out once you get around to trying it! Perhaps we can start a fanclub together ;)

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