Panforte Recipe - A Specialty of Siena

Panforte Recipe - A Specialty of Siena

To describe this dessert as fruit cake does not do it justice. Try this rich Tuscan desert.

While walking about Florence my friends asked me what Panforte was and why it was so expensive. I stumbled at first, describing it as a fruit cake. Just as with American fruit cake, it is associated with Christmas. But, Panforte is to American fruit cake what the sun is to a candle.

Try it and you will be hooked. It is usually served in thin slices, with espresso.



  • 5 oz honey
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 3 ounces pignoli (pine nuts), chopped
  • 3 oz walnuts, chopped
  • 3 oz almonds, chopped
  • 3 oz candied pineapple, chopped
  • 3 oz candied ginger, chopped
  • 3 oz angelica, chopped (if you can't find it don't worry)
  • 3 oz dried dates or figs, chopped
  • 2 oz cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace (you can substitute 1/3 tsp nutmeg)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)


  1. Put the honey and sugar into a pan and stir over a gentle heat, until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Bring to a boil and let it gently boil until the mixture reaches the "soft ball" stage (238F). A little of the mixture should form a soft ball when dropped into a cup of cold water.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the pignoli, walnuts, almonds, pineapple, ginger, angelica, dates or figs, cocoa, mace, coriander, and all spice into the honey syrup. It will be very stiff.
  4. Press the mixture into a greased 8-9" pan with a removable bottom. Fluted sides are traditional, but not essential.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes at 300F.
  6. Remove to a cooling rack.
  7. Remove the panforte from the pan.
  8. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

Note: You can slice and store in an airtight container.

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