Christmas cake: recipe for panforte Margherita of Siena
Many many years ago in Siena they used to say that the panforte “panpepato” << united families >> because of its aphrodisiacal virtues that made the critical moments in marriages something of the past. True or untrue this characteristic of the panforte also caused some high level problems. It seems in fact that when Queen Margherita di Savoia came to visit the Palio city, her visit was anticipated by an inspection by her chamberlain who also had the job of choosing the dishes for the “royal palate”. When he came to learn about the aphrodisiac virtues of the panpepato he immediately excluded it from the menu and the Sienese population, most contrite when they heard that their most famous and delicious cake was being disdained, decided to make a version more “chaste” version” that was christened panforte Margherita in honour of the queen.
At Fattoria del Colle the panforte is prepared by the pateisseur and served straight away during the Christmas holidays and most of all during the New Years Eve dinner.
Read the recipe below!
600 gr of candied orange and cedar, 300 gr of almonds and 200 gr of toasted hazelnuts, 200 gr of acacia honey, 150 gr
of sugar, 3 eggs, 100 gr of vanilla sugar, 5 dried figs, 150 gr of flour, 30 gr of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, greaseproof paper and hosts (to be bought in the chemists)
Put in a double bottom pan the honey and the sugar and melt slowly on a low flame continuously stirring. Then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and black pepper. After about 15 minutes the mixture is bubbly and amber coloured. While it is cooling a little, roughly break the dried fruit in a mortar. Mix the hazelnuts and almonds with the diced candied fruit, the flour and finally the cut up dried figs. Beta the egg whites until stiff and add to the fruit while mixing until you get a homogeneous Mixture. At this point the mixture on honey and sugar will be quite dense, and must be added to the rest stirring well and making sure it is well blended. Now is the moment to
Coat the round baking tin with greaseproof paper putting the hosts on the bottom, after having softened them with butter or water. Putting the mixture into the tin needs a certain amount of energy as the mixture must be well pressed. To choose well the size of the tin consider that the mixture must be about 3 cm deep. Bake the panforte in the oven for 30min at 150°.
Remove the tin and the greaseproof paper only after having let the panforte cool down, at that poi nit can be showered with abundant vanilla sugar.
Advise for gluttons by Donatella Cinelli Colombini