Recipe

Spicy panforte

Panforte is a delicious Italian fruit cake from Siena, made with honey, nuts and candied fruit. The perfect Christmas cake to share with friends and family.

  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 12
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Ingredients

  • 1 medium orange (240g)
  • ½ cup (75g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup (40g) almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1 cup (120g) skinless hazelnuts, roasted
  • ½ cup (50g) walnut halves, roasted
  • ½ cup (70g) pistachios, roasted lightly
  • ½ cup (125g) coarsely chopped glacé apricots
  • ½ cup (75g) dried sour cherries
  • ½ cup (110g) naked ginger (see tips)
  • 100 grams white chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • ½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • ½ cup (175g) honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar

Method

  • 1
    Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. Line base and side of a 20cm (8-inch) springform pan with baking paper.
  • 2
    Remove rind from orange with a zester. (Or, peel orange thinly with a vegetable peeler, avoiding any white pith. Cut rind into long thin strips.)
  • 3
    Sift flour and spices into a large bowl. Stir in orange rind, almond meal, nuts, fruit, ginger and chocolate.
  • 4
    Stir caster sugar, honey and the water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes or until a sugar thermometer reaches 116°C/240°F. Add sugar syrup to flour mixture; stir well. Press mixture firmly into pan; smooth surface.
  • 5
    Bake panforte for 45 minutes or until it comes away slightly from the edge of pan. Leave panforte in pan overnight to cool. Just before serving, dust with icing sugar. Cut into thin wedges.

Notes

Panforte can be made up to 2 weeks ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature.You can use dried unsweetened cranberries instead of sour cherries. Naked ginger is sweetened uncrystallised ginger. Roasting nuts brings out the flavour. Spread nuts onto an oven tray, roast in 180°C/350°F oven for 5 minutes, or until nuts are golden brown (stir nuts once during roasting for even cooking).

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