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Pan Forte

Source: Nancy Silverton's Pastries From the La Brea Bakery
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Active Time:  30 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour 40 Minutes
  20 slices
At our Farmers' Market, there's a stand that's about 15 feet long selling more dried fruits than I ever thought existed. Every time I walk by, I get the urge to make my pan forte. I was happy with the recipe from my other cookbook until I went to Siena, where the pan forte is more peppery and spicy, apropos of the translation: "strong bread." More candylike than breadlike, this chewy, intense confection makes the perfect gift for holidays. Follow the Italian tradition by making the pan forte in small 4-inch discs. Wrap it in wax paper and then a sheet of brown butcher paper, tied with string and sealed with embossed sealing wax.
1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) whole unblanched almonds
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) whole unblanched hazelnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
1 1/4 pounds dried fruits, preferably organic - any combination of black currants, white or black raisins, black mission figs, white figs, sour cherries, plums, prunes, pears, peaches, nectarines, or cranberries and apricots and candied ginger
2/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
1 cup granulated sugar
Pan Forte Recipe at
Place the ring or mold over the sheet of rice paper on parchment-lined baking sheet. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet in two separate piles, and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Shake the pans halfway through to ensure that the nuts toast evenly. Allow to cool a few minutes. Gather the hazelnuts into kitchen towel and rub them together to remove the skins. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the nuts with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, flour, and cocoa powder. Cut the fruit into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with with nut mixture.

In a small saucepan, stir together the honey and sugar. Over high heat, bring to a boil without stirring. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush the sides of the pan to remove any undissolved sugar granules. Cook until the sugar reaches 224 to 240 degrees F (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and pour into the fruit mixture. Stir to combine as well as possible. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.

Dip your hands in water and press the fruit mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 1 hour, until the top is slightly puffed and the surface is matte. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan. Trim the rice paper around the edge of the mold. Store at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for several weeks.

Photography courtesy of Weldon Owen Publishing.

Serving size = 1 slice

Recipe reprinted by permission of Villard Books. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   20 slices
Calories: 302
Sodium: 5mg
Fiber: 4g
Carbohydrates, Total: 53g
Protein: 5g
% Cal. from Fat: 30%
Fat. Total: 10g
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