After a successful attempt at making panforte last Christmas, I decided that I would definitely repeat the experience this year so that I could enjoy it over the festive season (and perhaps share some).
I’ve made a few changes to the recipe I used last time to make the flavour more lemony: I used more candied citrus peel and included my homemade limoncello instead of the sherry. I also changed the amounts of some of the ingredients to better match the sizes of the packets that are commonly available in the supermarket so that you don’t end up e.g. needing 5g more of pistachios or having a small bit of candied peel or almonds left.
140g whole blanched almonds
100g walnut pieces
150g candied peel
100g dried figs, chopped
100g stoned dates, chopped
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground ginger
200g runny honey
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp limoncello
icing sugar, to dust
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 limoncello 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.
Spoon the mixture into the tin(s)* lined with baking paper and use a wet spoon to press down until firm and flat.
*The original recipe used a 20cm springform cake tin; last time I used 6 smaller pie dishes instead. This time I decided to see whether you could ‘freeform’ it with shapes on a baking tray (covered with a silicon mat). The mix did spread a bit in the oven but it was fairly easy to use a wet butter knife to pull the edges in and back into shape when you first take it out of the oven. I also reduced the time a bit as I left mine a bit long last time .
Bake for 45mins at 150C until the surface is still soft but not sticky to touch.
Remove from oven and reshape the ‘cakes’ using a wet knife if they have spread. If using tins: cool the panforte in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from the tin and remove the baking paper.
Cool completely on a wire rack, then dust thickly with icing sugar. Cut into thin wedges to serve.