This is the perfect Christmas gift for your friends and family and, I recommend to make it for you as well, because it’s really delicious.
The first time I tasted this special panforte was at Virginia’s nursery school, more than 10 years ago. I can still seeing that little girl running to me. He had in her hand a transparent bag that contained cookies, closed by a beautiful colored ribbon. It was Virginia’s Christmas gift to her family.
Inside the small bag there was also a paper with a Virginia’s drawing and the written: “Panforte di fichi e noci” (fig and walnut panforte).
So I understood that they were not “cookies”, but panforte “pieces” that the teachers cut and put in the bags.
Furthermore, it was not the “common” panforte, but a special one, made with figs and nuts.
I still remember the pleasant surprise of those flavors; I never tasted a so good panforte. The taste is enveloping, spicy and persistent.
Reading the recipe I immediately realized it was very simple and fast to do.
In short, I found the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family.
And so, from that Christmas time of 10 years ago, my kitchen turns into a laboratory and it bakes “panforte” of every dimension:
- for Christmas baskets along with other treats like the Befanini cookies
- as a Christmas gift along with a nice liqueur, in my case Orange / Limoncello liqueur made by me
- alone, wrapped in a fine yellow sheet of paper and sealed with a rope or string ribbon
A BIT OF HISTORY
Panforte is a Christmas cake typical of Tuscany (Province of Siena) and that one with figs and walnuts seems to have been invented by Giuseppina Bonelli of the famous pastry shop Masoni.
During World War II, raw materials were scarce. Impossible to find expensive candies and spices.
It was so that Giuseppina invented a panforte made with the available ingredients; in a few words the dried fruit that at that time was considered poor: figs and nuts.
It came up with an exquisite product that immediately had a great success.
Personally, I tried to interpret the old recipe according to my personal tastes. I tried to balance the flavors by accentuating those I love and I think that you can do in this way as well.
However, if you do not want to risk, know that the recipe below has been tested for several years, so be sure.
Once again, this year too, this panforte will be the Christmas gift for my closest friends.
Meanwhile at my house, a big (10 inch; 24 cm diameter) panforte already disappeared (volatilized) and I only baked it yesterday.
Suggestion for your Christmas gift
This panforte, as a Christmas gift, can be even more beautiful accompanied by the recipe, perhaps you can print it on parcel paper, than you can roll up it and wrap with a string.
- 165 gr (6 oz) caster sugar
- 250 gr (9 oz) dried figs
- 115 gr (4 oz) 00 or all purpose flour (no yeast)
- 1 coffee cup honey
- 1 tbs cinnamon powder
- ½ tbsp nutmeg powder
- 250 gr (9 oz) walnuts
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- finely chop dried figs
- coarsely chop walnuts
- in a saucepan (low heat) melt the sugar with honey and 4 tbsp of water
- as the syrup is boiling having a golden color, add the figs and remove the pan from the heat
- add the flour with the spicy powders
- once it's well amalgamated add the chopped walnuts
- pour this mixture in a baking tray (possibly lined with a rice paper wafer)
- my baking tray: 20 cm (7,87 inch)
- bake at 200°C (392 °F) for about 10-12 minutes
- remove from baking tray when warm
- once it's cold sprinkle wit icing sugar