Here is a recipe for my Healthified Italian Panforte.
This cake is a specialty of Siena, Italy that dates back to the 13th century. The first documents, found among Siena's historic papers, are various testimonies from February 7, 1205 that are written on parchment paper and conserved in the archives of the state of Siena.
The parchment paper was found around the second half of the 1800's in the archives of the hospital of Siena. It had come from the estate of the Castle of Montisi, which belonged to the Cacciaconti family. It is written that, on that date the servant and inhabitants of the monastery of Montecellesi (today Montecelso) were obliged to bring the nuns a good number of Panes pepatos et melatos (bread with pepper and honey) as a form of tax.
The idea of adding spices to the original recipe of "Pan Melato" was said to have been Nicolò dé Salimbeni's, also called "Muscia". In the archives of Genoa, it was recorded that Panforte was one of the most famous sweets in Italy. Panforte's success soon crossed the boundaries of Siena and many documents record its presence on the "menus" of the feast of rich noblemen in every part of Italy.
This is the third year in a row that I've made it for Christmas and every time I have been blown away by how special it is. The flavour and aroma is to die for. Actual time putting it together doesn't take long, its just the soaking of the fruit and nuts that makes it a bit lengthy but well worth the effort.
Makes: 1 x 18cm round slice
1 cup walnuts
2 cup hazelnuts
½ cup sultanas
½ cup dried organic apricots
½ cup figs – sliced
½ cup coconut sugar
½ cup honey
½ tsp vanilla powder or similar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp white pepper
1/3 tsp mixed spice
1 tbs zested fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ground dried ginger)
1 cup strong chia tea (use 2-4 tea bags)
1 cup ground almonds, walnuts or Brazils
2 tbs cacao powder
25 g shaved cacao paste – you could also use 70% dark chocolate
Add all of the ingredients for Part 1 to a large mixing bowl with a lid. Stir to combine then let soak for at least 24 hours giving it a stir every twice a day. Soaking for 2 to 3 days is also fine. You can leave the tea bags in but make sure they don't get broken when you stir it.
Once you are ready to cook it Preheat your oven to 160oc. Add the all of the ingredients from part 2 to the fruit and nut mix then transfer into a baking paper lined cake tin, smooth the top and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If the top looks like it's getting burn't place some foil or secured baking paper over the top and continue cooking until done.
Let cool before slicing. May be stored in the fridge or freezer if you want to save some for a later date.
A great Christmas treat to serve to friend and family