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I made this several years ago for an SCA (medieval/renaissance reenactors) dessert revel. It was my favorite candy from that feast. Traditionally, Panforte di Siena in one form or another fortified the Crusaders on their long journeys. While I have no documentation for this particular recipe, there is an interesting file on Compuserve in the Living History library showing Middle Italian texts and translations (by Baroness Viviana di Castelloza [Vian Lawson]) of chocolate recipes in A.S.F. Carte Bardi II A.116. [Good luck finding this today...] This recipe was downloaded from the Living History library on Compuserve (PANFORTE.TXT) which places it in the days prior to the internet. Today I would use white rice flour rather than cake flour as I eat gluten free.
- THERE IS NO FAT. THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE.
- Turn oven on to 350 and toast hazelnuts until golden - about 15 minutes. Return oven to 300 after toasting.
- Line a pie plate with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides too. This is crucial. Maybe wax paper will work. PAM both the plate before the paper and then the paper. This is a major sticker.
- Drain orange peel if you have soaked it in brandy. Combine well all ingredients except honey and sugar. Stir. Stir. Stir.
- Heat honey and sugar until soft ball stage, 240 degrees F. Careful. It gets there real fast so watch for scorching.
- Turn out to a large bowl and add the dry ingredients. Combine. You have a dense mass difficult to combine which is why you need a large bowl.
- Place in lined pie plate and spread - shouldn't be more than 3/4 inches high. Wet your hands to spread and smooth it out. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then turn it out to an oiled plate and remove paper. When cool, cut into small squares. I then shake the totally cooled pieces in a bag with powdered sugar (to which cinnamon can be added). Cocoa powder is good, also, for shaking inches Store in air tight container. Keeps forever. Note: This is not a "dessert" but more adult candy. Good for snacking with a glass of wine or brandy. Stuff keeps for weeks in an air-tight container which is why the Italian Crusaders brought it to their wars in the Middle East.