Panforte

Ingredients

  • sunflower or vegetable oil, for greasing
  • edible rice paper (see recipe tip)
  • 125g/4½oz whole, blanched almonds
  • 100g/3½oz shelled walnut pieces
  • 75g/2¾oz shelled pistachios
  • 100g/3½oz candied peel, whole chunks if you can, finely chopped
  • 100g/3½oz dried figs, chopped
  • 100g/3½oz stoned dates, chopped
  • 50g/1¾oz dried apricots, chopped
  • 75g/2¾oz plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 200g/7oz runny honey
  • 200g/7oz golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp marsala or sweet-medium sherry
  • icing sugar, to dust

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease the base of a 20cm/8in springform or loose-bottomed cake tin with a little of the oil, then line with edible rice paper (or baking paper if you can’t find it). Tip the almonds onto a baking tray and roast for 5–8 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Remove and set aside to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 150C/Fan 130C/Gas 2.

  2. When the almonds are cool enough to handle, roughly chop with the walnuts and pistachios. Tip into a mixing bowl with all the dried fruit, flour, cocoa and spices. Mix together.

  3. Heat the honey, sugar and marsala (or sherry), in a saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has melted. Allow to bubble for 3 minutes. Carefully pour over the fruit-nut mixture and mix through. Scrape into the tin and use a wet spoon to press the mixture down into a firm, flat cake. Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the surface is still soft, but not sticky to touch.

  4. Cool the panforte in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully run a palette knife around the edge to release, and remove from the tin. If using edible paper, keep on, otherwise remove the baking paper. Cool completely on a wire rack, then dust thickly with icing sugar. Cut into thin wedges to serve.