Last week felt like the height of summer with our peach ice cream, and this week's selection for the Sunday Slow Scoopers by Colleen felt like we were in the midst of the holidays. Panforte is a traditional fruit and nut cake from Siena. I wouldn't go as far as to call it a fruitcake, but for some it is an acquired taste. It has a dense almost chewy texture and the flavor of nuts, dried fruit and spices. To me it tastes like Christmas.
As much as I love almonds and candied orange peel, I'm not sure I would have chosen this ice cream because it looked more complicated than most. You need some not particularly easy to find candied orange peel. Luckily David does give you a recipe. So, I started by carefully peeling 4 oranges and cutting the peels into tiny strips, trying to follow his directions to cut them not much wider than a toothpick. It took a good 15-20 minutes but it wasn't unpleasant work. My hands and kitchen smelled deliciously like oranges for a while.
After boiling the peel, it's time to make the custard base. And this is when I realized that this was going to be a rich ice cream. It's made up of half and half and cream. Mostly cream and four egg yolks make it even more silky and smooth. It's infused with freshly grated nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon sticks. The candied orange peel and the toasted almonds are added when the ice cream is almost solidified. You only need about a fourth of the recipe for candied orange peel in the ice cream. David says that the candied orange peel will keep for a while in the refrigerator. I think I have about half of the recipe left after my frequent sampling, but I'm sure I can think of something to do with it.
As for the finished product. I was fortunate that a friend brought a luscious chocolate mousse cake over. So we served the ice cream with that and it was delicious.
The photo at the top of this entry shows the ice cream in a couple of hand decorated cups that I brought back from Siena years ago. They are supposed to be used for wine but panforte is supposed to be a cake, so panforte ice cream in a Sienese wine cup looks strangely appropriate. And I can also testify that the ice cream is equally good the next day sampled right out of the freezer before breakfast.