Panforte mascarpone cream cups

Panforte, between legend and tradition

Panforte is the typical, ancient and also the best known dessert of the Siena tradition. Today we want to present it to you in a mouth-watering recipe. Tasty mascarpone cream revisited with the flavor of panforte, to be enjoyed at any time and with whoever you want.

Before moving on to the recipe, however, we at Nannini want to tell you something about this dessert that represents our Siena and its culinary tradition. 

Nannini Dolci e Caffè - Panforte

Legend has it that panforte is the direct descendant of honeyed bread, composed of simple ingredients such as flour, water and honey. To these would then be added the fruit that would have made the cake mold making it sour. From here it was given the name of panforte, from the Latin fortis which means acid.

In its first documented appearance, however, the panforte was called panpepato and was composed of wheat flour, honey, spices, dried figs, jam, pine nuts and flavored with pepper. It was a sweet prized for the presence of spices but above all because it contained pepper. 

Also according to a popular legend handed down for generations, during the battle of Montaperti in 1260 the Sienese soldiers would have refreshed themselves with the gingerbread that would have given them such vigor as to make the exhausted Florentine enemies escape. 

Ugo Foscolo's masterful pen consecrates the modern version of gingerbread and in a letter dated 1813 he wrote that he had received as a tribute from "Gentle woman Quirina Magiotti Mocenni […] panforti and several flasks of Montalcino". The similarities of the panforte and gingerbread sweets led us to believe that they were the same thing also from the lexical point of view.

The most traditional and well-known version of panforte, the white one, was born in 1887 when Queen Margherita and King Umberto of Savoy visited Siena. A court master changed the ingredients by adding lighter candies and an outer layer of icing sugar. In honor of the sovereign this variation of the panforte took the name of "Margherita", a denomination still used today.

Panforte is still today one of the symbolic sweets of Siena's culinary tradition. In the city of the Palio there cannot be a moment of celebration without having a panforte to share with friends and relatives.

Mascarpone and Panforte, a perfect combination

But let's get to us. The recipe we want to present to you is a fresh and tasty easy-to-prepare spoon dessert that will leave you breathless. You can impress your guests with minimal effort and with a few simple ingredients. Put on your chef's hat and get ready to cook.

Ingredients for 3 people)

  • 2 heaping tablespoons of sugar (50 gr.) Or 2 satins of fructose (35 gr.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spoons of Vin Santo
  • 250 gr. of mascarpone
  • 1 Panforte (350 gr.)

The first step is to create the mascarpone cream and to do this you have to separate the egg whites from the yolks, being very careful not to let any trace of yolks go into the whites. After that take the yolks and add the sugar, or fructose if you prefer to use this. Also add the vin santo and mascarpone, mixing the mixture well until you get a cream without lumps.

Nannini Sweets and Coffee - Panforte - Candied

The next step is to beat the egg whites until stiff. You can do it either by hand or with an electric whisk, the result does not change. To see if you have succeeded in your intent to just raise the bowl and if the egg whites do not move ... congratulations! You are ready for the next step.

Then take the egg whites and add them to the mascarpone cream and mix well and gently until you get a homogeneous cream. 

Now let's take care of our panforte. Take 300 gr. of panforte and chop it with the help of a mixer. Once crumbled, add 200 gr. to your mascarpone cream and put your mascarpone cream with panforte in 3 cups. Then let it cool in the fridge for a few hours.

When you go to serve it take the remaining 100 gr. of crumbled gingerbread and sprinkle the surface of the cups. The remaining 50 gr. cut them into slices and use them as a waffle for your cream.

Your panforte mascarpone cream is ready to be enjoyed.

For a touch of class

We suggest you accompany it with a glass of vin santo that will make the recipe even more special.