Every year I try and make a batch of panforte for Christmas gifts. This batch, despite missing the customary dried peel was still delicious. Seems there was a rush of Christmas baking around here, as the local supermarkets had all sold out of peel. This lot, once wrapped, are off to be posted to friends and family on the big isle.
Here's the recipe I used from Stephanie Alexander
* 400g blanched almonds
* 400g shelled pistachios
* 120g figs, roughly chopped
* 200g raisins
* 200g currants
* 300g mixed peel
* 120g dried or glace pear or apricot
* 200g flour
* 2 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
* 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
* 1 tsp nutmeg
* 1 tsp white pepper
* 1 tsp ground coriander
* 300g honey
* 200g sugar
* 300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
* 1.5 tbsp water
* sweet almond or other neutral oil
* Rice paper for baking
Preheat oven to 160C. Prepare 20cm x 22cm x 4cm deep baking tin by greasing them then lining the bottom with rice paper.
Roast almonds in oven till golden brown. In a large bowl, mix the nuts, fruit, peel, flour, cocoa, spices and chocolate. In a pot over medium heat, bring water honey and sugar to boil and pour into bowl.
Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon. Lightly oil your hands and press mixture into prepared tin. Bake for 35 minutes until covered in fine blisters.
Cool completely in tin, then turn out and cut into 3cm-wide pieces to serve. If not using immediately, cut into slabs to cute further as required. Wrap tightly in pastic then in a double sheet of foil and store in an airtight container. Panforte will keep for a few weeks if stored this way.