One of the other Christmasy treats I made this season was this Sienese panforte. I made this to serve after the Balmoral Carols when we were all back at our house and looking for something sweet to enjoy with a cup of tea or a glass of red.
I do love panforte as it’s not too much trouble to make, it goes a long way, it’s full of spices and fruits and nuts and all things Christmasy and it also makes a great gift.
I found this recipe in the December issue of Gourmet Traveller and liked how rich and dark it looked and how it’s made with dried sour-cherries – a new favourite ingredient.
It’s very easy to make a double quantity and so I had a spare to give away to friends hosting a brunch the next day. (At that time of year you just roll from one even to another!)
- 225g blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
- 150g blanched hazelnuts, (I used pistachios to give that green colour), coarsely chopped
- 100g dried figs, coarsely chopped
- 100g dried sour-cherries, coarsely chopped
- 30g dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
- 20g Dutch-process cocoa, sieved, plus 25g extra for dusting
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- 175g honey
- 75g caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 190C.
- Use one large sheet of baking paper to line the base and sides of a 22cm round cake tin so that there are no gaps. (Don't worry about creases).
- Combine nuts, figs, sour cherries, chocolate and cocoa with half the cinnamon and the white pepper in a bowl.
- Stir honey and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then cook without boiling until syrupy, 2-3 minutes.
- Working quickly, pour honey mixture over nut mixture and mix well to combine, then spoon into prepared cake tin, pressing well into tin and smooth top with a hot, wet spatula. Bake until dark and glossy (35-40 minutes). Cool completely in tin (3-4 hours).
- Combine extra cocoa with remaining cinnamon, remove panforte from tin and dust top with cocoa. Wrap tightly in baking paper, then in wrapping of your choice. The flavour of panforte will develop over time so it's best eaten after a few days. It will keep wrapped for up to a month.
You will need a set of good strong teeth to enjoy this as this panforte is very hard and crunchy.