Panforte di Siena: Chestnuts and Truffles TV

November 23, 2015 — 13 Comments


For Tuscans, panforte means Christmas. A centuries-old tradition from the province of Siena, panforte is a rich cake made of almonds, candied peel, and honey peppered with winter spices, with a unique flavour and texture. There are several variations on the recipe for panforte, but to create this one, I went back to the official requirements of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture for Panforte di Siena IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta). The only requirement I could not fulfil was to make it in the province of Siena, as I live in the neighbouring provice of Arezzo.

Unlike many traditional British Christmas sweetmeats, panforte is suitable for vegetarians without adaptation. You can enjoy it with coffee, tea, or even a dessert wine or vin santo.

The ingredients in the recipe below are the official ones. You can of course, substitute plain flour for ‘0’, any clear honey for the millefiori, and candied lemon peel for the citron. Citron is a fruit very much like a lemon, but distinct. I’ll be blogging about it later in the week. You can also leave out the rice paper disc, if you wish, but be sure to butter the bottom of the tin in that case and to remove it before it cools completely, or it will stick.

Buon appetito e buon natale!


Panforte di Siena

Serves 8
1 sheet rice paper
150g (1 cup) type ‘0’ flour
200g (2 cups) unpeeled almonds, toasted
5g (1 teaspoon) ground coriander
3g (1/2 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
1g (1/4 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
1g (1/4 teaspoon) ground cloves
220g (1 cup) granulated sugar
50g (3 tablespoons) Tuscan millefiore honey
50g (1/4 cup) water
220g (3 cups) candied orange peel, cubed
150g (2 cups) candied citron peel, cubed
icing sugar


  1. Grease a round 22 cm (9 inch) cake tin, line the bottom with rice paper and the sides with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix the flour, almonds, and spices together in a bowl.
  3. Put the sugar, honey, and water in a saucepan and heat very gently to melt the sugar and honey together. Be careful not to let the mixture caramelize.
  4. Add the candied peel to the syrup and stir to coat the peel, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the syrup and peel to the flour, almonds, and spices. Mix thoroughly to form a dry but coherent mixture.
  6. Place the mixture in the tin and press down with a spoon to ensure that the mixture is distributed evenly. Don’t worry if the surface is a bit rough.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 220°C (430°F). Don’t worry if the cake seems very soft when it comes out of the oven. Let it cool down completely.
  8. Remove the cake from the tin and discard the greaseproof paper. Cover the top with sifted icing sugar. Buon appetito!

13 responses to Panforte di Siena: Chestnuts and Truffles TV


    I am so pleased it’s almost Christmas!



    I looooooove panforte. I’d better not make it though, as I will eat it all myself! Mannaggia!



      Go on, treat yourself. It is a really quick and easy thing to do. I have the opposite problem when it comes to eating it. I made some on Sunday, went to Venice for two nights and when I got back, the panforte had gone! Need to make another.



    Thanks so much for this recipe, Luca. I have been a Panforte devourer for years – now I can make my own. Have a wonderful Christmas in Tuscany.



      Thanks David! I’m really glad you like it. It’s SO simple but so yummy. Enjoy! Lots more Tuscan Christmas recipes to come in the next couple of weeks 🙂



    This looks really lovely. And what a lovely website.



      Thank you! I must say that the finished product was lovely. If you try and make it don’t be tempted to cook it any longer than 20 minutes or it will go too hard. Like this, it seems a bit soft when it comes out of the oven, but it cools to the perfect consistency. Thanks for following!



    Reblogged this on The Cooking Petrolhead and commented:
    Cooked this today. Cooling in the tin, hoping I’ve gotten it right and won’t have all the Siena region cooks reeling back in horror..


Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Quick guide to italian ingredients: citron (cedro) « Chestnuts and Truffles - November 26, 2015

    […] such classics as cassata siciliana. However, it is also one of the compulsory ingredients for panforte. The regulations for Panforte di Siena IGP, state that 35-45% of the mixture must contain candied […]


  2. Culinary Chatter: An Ode to Nigella And How I Got Into Cooking | The Cooking Petrolhead - November 28, 2015

    […] toast.  I want to make panforte this holiday season after both buying one last year, and seeing a recipe by Chestnut and Truffles on the Facebook group Baking Boy Bloggers, but I knew Nigella had a recipe. So rather than choose […]


  3. Florence at Christmas: a photo essay « Chestnuts and Truffles - December 11, 2015

    […] last but not least, there is panforte which its almost obligatory for Tuscans to eat at Christmas. An elegant place to try it is in one […]


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