( 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.
More festive baking from Geoff