Panforte di Siena is a traditional Italian dessert that is a dense, chewy cake that is traditionally served for breakfast. Its name translated into English is "strong bread." Despite its slightly intimidating name, this cake is a delicious dessert or snack option that works especially well during the holidays. And thanks to this recipe from recipe developer Jessica Case, you can taste a little slice of Siena in your own kitchen.
"I love all the flavors coming from the dried fruits and nuts," Cae says. "It's intense in a lovely way. And I love the crunchy texture from the nuts."
This recipe is also somewhat customizable. You can make it gluten-free by substituting the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour. You can also tweak the taste of the cake by using any combination of dried fruit, nuts, or spices -- just make sure to follow the measurements in this recipe to keep the proportions of nuts and dried fruit consistent.
Read more: 30 Types Of Cake, Explained
Gather Your Ingredients For Spiced Panforte Di Siena
To make this Panforte di Siena, you'll need almonds, dried figs, candied orange slices, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, freshly ground black pepper, ground coriander, ground cloves, salt, honey, granulated sugar, and chopped semi-sweet chocolate.
You'll also need toasted blanched hazelnuts with the skin discarded. If you can't find blanched hazelnuts in a store, Case says it's totally possible to blanch your own hazelnuts."Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then add 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and hazelnuts," Case says. "Boil for 3 minutes, and drain and rinse with cold water. Pinch each nut between your fingers and the skin will just slip off."
Start Making The Cake Batter
Combine the nuts, chopped figs, and candied orange slice in a large bowl. Sift the flour, cocoa, spices, and salt together in another bowl and then add the nut mixture to the bowl.
Combine the honey and granulated sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, letting the sugar dissolve. Simmer the honey and sugar together over low heat for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add the chopped semi-sweet chocolate, and stir until the chocolate has melted.
Finish Mixing The Cake Batter
Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour and nuts, and stir all ingredients together until they are well combined. This mixture will become quite firm, so Case advises rolling up your sleeves and putting some muscle into stirring.
Bake The Cake
Press the mixture into the prepared cake pan with a wooden spoon and smooth out the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Once the 30 minutes are up, remove the cake pan and let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. Dust the top of the cake with confectioner's sugar and chopped candied oranges.
Serve And Store The Cake
Case recommends serving this cake for breakfast with hot coffee and eggs, or after dinner with some bourbon and Scotch, especially during the holidays. This Panforte di Siena should last up to 3 months in an airtight container in the freezer.
Spiced Panforte Di Siena Recipe
Prep Time: 10mCook Time: 40mYield: 10 servingsIngredients
1 cup hazelnuts, blanched and skins discarded
1 cup almonds
1 cup dried figs, chopped
½ cup candied orange, chopped
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup honey
1 cup granulated sugar
⅔ cup chopped semisweet chocolate bar
extra candied oranges
Preheat the oven to 320 F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and sides of the pan generously with butter or cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, bring the 1 cup of almonds and water to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes and strain the almonds with a strainer. Run cold water, then place the almonds on a towel and dry. Peel the almond skins off.
Combine the nuts, chopped figs, and candied orange slices in a large bowl.
Sift the flour, cocoa, spices, and salt together and combine with the nut and fruit mixture.
In a small saucepan, combine the honey and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat and let the sugar dissolve. Simmer the sauce pan over low heat for 3 minutes and whisk occasionally.
Put the chopped chocolate into the mixture and keep stirring until it's melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Pour the chocolate into the flour and nut mixture and stir until it's well incorporated. The mixture will become firm, so make sure you are able to use some muscles to combine all the ingredients together.
Use a wooden spoon to press the mixture into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top of the batter. Bake the cake for 30 minutes.
Let the cake cool completely and then remove it from the pan. Dust top of cake with confectioners' sugar and extra chopped candied oranges.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.