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
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
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 flour, 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.