Originating from Siena, panforte is a type of chewy Tuscan fruitcake. Records of panforte go back to 1206, when the nuns of the Monastery of Montecelso in Siena received “panes piperatos et melatos” - breads flavoured with pepper and honey – as a tribute.
There are two main traditional types of panforte – a white cake covered in icing sugar and a black version, covered with spices. My recipe below is a variation of the white version and calls for candied orange and lemon peel.
You can also use dried figs for some of the weight which will result in a sweeter, softer panforte. If you want some of the more Western Christmas flavours, you can experiment with adding raisins, cherries or chocolate to the mixture.
You may want to tweak the quantity of these depending on your preferences. I've used between a third and half a teaspoon of each spice. You'll need two level teaspoons in total.
The cake can be wrapped in baking paper, then foil and stored for up to two months at room temperature.
Last Updated 20 November 2023