Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert from the Tuscan city of Siena. Legend has it that it was carried by the crusaders on their quests; making it the original trail-mix. It is one of the foods that I missed most when I moved back to the states from Italy. I never would have dreamed that it was so easy to make. In Siena each bakery has its own, carefully guarded, recipe but the overall process is fairly simple. Sugar is dissolved in honey and mixed with nuts, dried or candied fruits, flour, and spices. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can experiment with combinations of ingredients until you develop a secret recipe of your own. Unlike most of my solar cooking recipes, the bulk of making panforte, dissolving the sugar in the honey, must be done on the stove. It is then baked in the GSO for only 30 minutes. However, the GSO’s moist cooking environment is ideal for creating a perfect panforte.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup candied citron, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup candied orange peel, cut into small pieces
1 cup hazelnuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
Place Global Sun Oven out to preheat
Combine 1/2 cup of the cake flour, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and nutmeg in a small bowl; set aside. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of the flour and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in another small bowl; set mixture aside for the topping.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine honey and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until the mixture comes to a full boil; remove from heat. Stir in candied fruit and nuts. Sift in flour mixture; stir until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth top with the slightly wet palm of your hand. Sift reserved cinnamon-flour mixture over the top. Place Panforte in the GSO. Bake for 30 minutes or until the panforte just starts to simmer around the edge of the pan. Remove from GSO; cool completely on a wire rack.