Panforte is a traditional delicacy of Siena, Italy. It’s very rich; a tiny piece is all you need. It keeps for weeks at room temperature and for months in the freezer. It packs a lot of energy in each portion and is ideal to take on long hikes. Most recipes call for candied citrus, but I don’t like the quality of the kind found in most supermarkets and making my own is not an option – I’d eat it all long before it ever made its way into a recipe. Diced, dried mango delivers just the right amount of sweetness and is the perfect texture for this rich cake. Sun Oven Panforte Ingredients To line the pan: 1 tablespoon cake flour 1 tablespoon plain dry bread crumbs 2 tablespoons finely ground nuts, almonds or hazelnuts For the cake: 1/2 cup cake flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup sweetened dried mango, diced 1 cup almonds or hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped* For the topping: 2 tablespoons cake flour 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Preparation Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom and the sides with parchment paper. Prepare the bread crumb lining: In a small bowl, combine the flour, bread crumbs, and ground nuts. Line the baking pan with the mixture and set aside. Prepare the cake: In a small bowl, combine the flower, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and nutmeg; set aside. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the honey and sugar, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a full boil; remove from heat. Stir in the mango and chopped nuts. Add the flour and spice mixture a stir until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using slightly dampened hands, smooth the batter out. Prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour and cinnamon. Sift the topping over the batter in the pan. Bake the cake in the Sun Oven until it starts to bubble around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the Sun Oven and cool completely on a rack. Remove the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto a rack, letting the excess flour fall off. Carefully remove the parchment paper. Invert the cake again onto a cutting board. *To toast the nuts, spread them out on a baking pan in a single layer and toast them in the Sun Oven for 10 to 20 minutes. If using hazelnuts, wrap the toasted nuts in a clean kitchen towel. Let them steam for about five minutes, then rub vigorously against the countertop to remove the skins.
Very ripe bananas are the key to good banana bread. If come baking day yours are not quite ready, put the un-peeled bananas in the Sun Oven when you set it out to preheat. It will take about half an hour to “ripen” them in the sun. Let them cool a bit before mixing them in with the other ingredients. This is also a good time to melt the butter. Put it in a glass measuring cup and set it in the Sun Oven with the bananas.
Sun Oven Banana Bread
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Any type of canned pie filling will work here. And, if you don’t have metal mugs, ovenproof ceramic mugs or ramekins work too. I bet you could even use a different brand of baking mix.
Crazy Easy Blueberry Cobblers
1 can (21-ounces) blueberry pie filling
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
More like individual mini, crustless pies or custards than cupcakes these little treats are as easy to whip up as they are to eat.
Sun Oven Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
These baked apples are easy to prepare with ingredients you probably already have and are delicious on a cold winter’s night.
Sun Oven Baked Apples
4 Granny Smith apples (or other tart baking apple)
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon
This lovely fall dessert is good served warm or chilled.
Sun Oven Slow Cooked Apple Stacks
(adapted for the Sun Oven from the L.A. Times)
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
4 apples, peeled
These inexpensive metal mugs can be found in the camping department and are a great addition to your Sun Oven.
Single Serving Sun Oven Peach Crumble
For the filling:
4 peaches, cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the topping
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
I first heard about baking a cake with sauerkraut at Weight Watchers a few years ago but dismissed it thinking it couldn’t possibly be any good. Then my interest was piqued when I found another version of it in a cookbook called “America’s Best Lost Recipes”. Seems it wasn’t just some wacky weight loss gimmick after all.
Sun Oven Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
I subscribe to the King Arthur Flour company’s emails and every now and then I find a recipe in my inbox that I just have to try immediately.
This one for hand-held pies is one of them. The pastry dough is rich and flaky and they’re almost as much fun to make as they are to eat.
The complete recipe, with detailed instructions on how to execute it, can be found here. They use something called instant ClearJel as a thickener for the filling. I used cornstarch instead.
The baking time in the Sun Oven was about 40 minutes. I used the stackable baking racks, if you don’t have them you could use two cross-stacked rimmed baking sheets or bake the pies in two batches.
I believe they’re meant to be breakfast pastries, but for us solar chefs they make a great afternoon treat.