A wedge of panforte with a cup of tea or coffee is a tasty treat that I always look forward to over the festive season. This year I decided to try making my own. This is a basic panforte recipe but you can swap out for your favourite combination of dried fruits and spices.
125g whole blanched almonds
100g walnut pieces
100g candied peel
100g dried figs, chopped
100g stoned dates, chopped
50g dried apricots, chopped
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground ginger
200g runny honey
200g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp marsala or medium sherry
icing sugar, to dust
edible rice paper can be used instead of baking paper
Put almonds onto a baking tray and roast at 180C for about 8 minutes until light golden-brown.
When the almonds are cool enough to handle, roughly chop with the walnuts and pistachios, and put into a mixing bowl with the dried fruit, flour, cocoa and spices. Mix together.
Heat the honey, sugar and marsala (or sherry) in a saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has melted. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
Pour the liquid ingredients over the fruit mixture and mix together thoroughly.
Line a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper. I used 6 smaller pie dishes instead.
Spoon panforte mixture into the tin(s) and use a wet spoon to press down until firm and flat.
Bake for 1 hour or so at 150C until the surface is still soft but not sticky to touch. I left mine a bit long so the surface hardened but it did soften a bit later.
Cool the panforte in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from the tin. If using edible paper, keep on, otherwise remove the baking paper.
Cool completely on a wire rack, then dust thickly with icing sugar. Cut into thin wedges to serve.