( MAKES 1 panforte )
Photo by Tam West
This ancient Italian “strong bread” seems to fit in quite nicely on the Kiwi Christmas table. It is actually jolly delicious eaten all year round. I once carefully tucked a freshly baked panforte safely in the back of my pantry and discovered it mid-year, in excellent condition. It does taste better when it is made then left to “mature” for at least a few days before eating. Serve cut into thin wedges to enjoy with a coffee.
|350 g||Mixed nuts, such as whole peeled almonds, roasted skinned hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts|
|1 cup||Candied peel, or other dried fruits|
|4 Tbsp||Dutch cocoa powder, plus some extra for dusting the cake tin|
|1||Orange, zest only|
|1 tsp||Ground cinnamon|
|½ tsp||Ground cloves|
|1 tsp||White pepper, freshly ground|
|90 g||Dark chocolate, (70% cocoa solids) chopped|
|1 sprinkle||Icing sugar, for dusting the panforte|
- Heat the oven to 150C. Line the bottom of a 22cm springform cake tin with baking paper. Spray tin with baking spray then dust the inside with extra cocoa powder, make sure it gets up the sides as well.
- In a mixing bowl combine nuts, candied peel, flour, cocoa powder, orange zest and all spices.
- Place chopped chocolate in a small metal bowl and gently melt by sitting it over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat.
- In a small saucepan melt butter, sugar and honey, stir until sugar dissolves then bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Working quickly, pour the hot honey syrup and melted chocolate over the nut mixture and stir well. Scrape the mix into the tin, smooth down with a rubber spatula and press flat.
- Bake for 35 minutes. To check it is done the centre should be just set, be careful not to overcook it or it will become too hard. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes then carefully take out and allow to cool completely before peeling away the baking paper.
- Dust generously with icing sugar then rub the icing sugar all over with your fingertips and dust again. Wrap well and store until needed, in the pantry.