Saturday, February 13, 2010

Solar Panforte di Siena

I'm pleased to report that the Sun Oven may just be the perfect vehicle for panforte. I can't believe how easy it is to make. This specialty of Siena is so hard to find in the U.S.  I saw some once at Whole Foods, but it was ridiculously expensive - even by Whole Foods standards. I never thought it would be possible to make at home.

Technically it is not fully solar cooked. A mixture of honey and sugar is brought to a boil and mixed with the other ingredients before baking it at 300ºf. I'm not sure which took longer, bringing the sugars to boil or baking it in the Sun Oven for thirty minutes. In any case, the end result seems to be pretty good. I say seems to be because we haven't tasted it yet. I'm bringing it to dinner at my cousin's place tomorrow.

After reading countless recipes I settled for one that I found at I chose it because it didn't use cocoa; I wanted to make the more traditional panforte margherita. Even though I have yet to taste this I'm very excited about the potential of this recipe. By mixing in different nuts, dried fruits, and spices the variations are endless.

If you do make the plunge and decide to make some yourself, keep in mind that it is extremely rich. A tiny bit goes a long way. Luckily, if properly stored, it will stay fresh for weeks.

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