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Giulia serves up a stunning panforte recipe for Christmas. The heady aromas of coriander seed, mace, clove and nutmeg while the cake is baking will fill your kitchen with plenty of festive cheer.

First published in 2017

Panforte is a thick and dense cake of medieval origin. At first it was made by the monks in the monasteries and given as a symbolic gift on special occasions, then passed into the hands of the apothecaries. Nowadays, it is made by pastry shops and bakeries in Siena and enjoyed mainly during Christmas time.





  • 350g of almonds
  • 150g of flour
  • 150g of candied orange peel
  • 150g of candied lemon peel
  • 5g of coriander seeds
  • 3g of mace
  • 1g of cloves
  • 1g of nutmeg
  • 150g of honey
  • 150g of icing sugar


  • 18cm spring-form cake tin
  • Sheet of rice paper


Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Toast the almonds in the oven for a few minutes
Add the toasted almonds to a large bowl with the flour, the finely chopped candied peel and spices. Stir to mix
Line a 18cm round cake tin with the rice paper wafer (preferably a spring form tin, as it will be much easier to remove the panforte once baked)
Melt the honey and icing sugar with 3 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over low heat. Once it becomes a thick golden syrup, remove the saucepan from the heat
Pour the syrup into the bowl with all the other ingredients and stir with a spoon to mix everything: it will be a very hard dough
Scoop the dough into the lined cake tin and smooth the surface with a spoon. Dust the surface with icing sugar and bake for 25–30 minutes
Remove the panforte from the oven, let it cool slightly and then remove it from the baking tin. If you wait until completely cold, the caramelised sugar will stick to the tin and give you a hard time! If this happens, slightly warm the tin and the panforte will come out easily
Once the panforte is cold, dust generously with icing sugar. It keeps for weeks wrapped in parchments paper if properly stored in a cool and dry place

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Giulia is a Tuscan food blogger who has turned her passion into a job and is now a freelance food writer, developing recipes for magazines and food companies.

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