PANFORTE CAKE OF SIENA
After the recipe for Ricciarelli, Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie is happy to share with you the recipe for Panforte, the symbol of pastry of Siena. (From the book “I luoghi del gusto di Siena”).
The history of Panforte refers back to medieval times when the trade of spices started and this cake can be considered a direct descendant of another kind of cake called “ panpepato”. The name of panforte (strong bread), refers to those sweets made from bread and honey, which were enriched with dried fruit and the moisture in it combined with sugars resulted in an acidic strong taste. With the introduction of spices coming from Asia, the preservation of the gingerbread was improved and extended. The spices spread to monasteries where religious experts prepared the first spiced bread in their fully equipped pharmaceutical laboratories. Over time, the tradition of the production of panforte by pharmaceutical plants was strongly maintained so that, starting from ‘nineteenth century, from the oldest pharmacies in Siena derive the confectionery industry today.
The recipe has remained almost unchanged over the centuries, with some nice variation that gave birth to the black panforte that includes cocoa and panforte Margherita with a more delicate taste and covered with powdered sugar instead of pepper; this one is dedicated to the Queen Margaret of Savoia on a visit to Siena in 1879.
Here’s the recipe for 10 people:
- 60 g of flour
- 150 g of honey
- 100 g of sugar
- 200 g of peeled and lightly toasted nuts (almonds and hazelnuts)
- Spices: an abundant sprinkling of cinnamon, a pinch of pepper, a sprinkling of nutmeg
- 200 g of candied citron
- 100 g candied orange peel
Cook together sugar and honey with a little ‘of water, when the sugar is melted add the candied fruit (cut into small cubes) and bring to a boiling point, then pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the flour, a little sugar, spices and chopped nuts. Mix well and pour the mixture into a round baking pan lined with flour. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees. Allow to cool and dust the surface with icing sugar.
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