Panforte di Siena


This cake dates back to the 13th century in Siena, Italy and because the cake has been around for so long there are lots of different recipes around. I settled for Jamie Oliver’s as I thought it sounded nice with figs in it, and it was really nice. It’s a dense and quite hard cake consisting mainly of fruits and nuts (and sugar) so a small piece is enough. I totally forgot to buy rice paper for my cake but it worked well without.

Panforte di Siena, makes 20 pieces

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe.

(rice paper) spapper 

300 g nuts, I used almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts 

200 g mixed candied peel

75 g plain flour

175 g dried figs

1-2 tbsp sherry or vin santo

6 tbsp honey

150 g golden caster sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cardamom

grated nutmeg

a pinch ground cloves

icing sugar

Cover a 22cm springform with rice paper. Toast the nuts in a dry pan and mix with the mixed peel and flour.

Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Mix the figs into a paste using a food processor. Transfer the paste to a saucepan and add 1 tbsp sherry/vin santo, honey, sugar and all the spices and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5-8 minutes and then add it to the nut mixture. Mix well and add another tbsp sherry/vin santo if the mixture is dry. 

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 30 minutes. Carefully press down a layer of rice paper on top of the cake and bake for another 10 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin. 

Dust with plenty of icing sugar, cut into thin slices and serve.