This panforte recipe is full of bold flavours and is rich enough to be satisfying in small doses. A little goes a long way! Tart dried cherries and sweet figs are perfectly complimented by the bitterness of the dark chocolate. This recipe is gluten free and dairy free, so it’s great for those with gluten or dairy intolerances or those who are simply looking to avoid these things in their diets.
225 gm blanched almonds, lightly roasted and coarsely chopped
150 gm blanched hazelnuts, lightly roasted and coarsely chopped
100 gm each dried figs and dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped
30 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
20 gm Dutch-process cocoa, sieved, plus 15 gm extra for dusting
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground white pepper
175 gm honey
75 gm granulated sugar (the original recipe calls for caster sugar but we used CSR Logicane low GI sugar)
Preheat oven to 190C. Use one large sheet of baking paper to line the base and sides of a 22cm diameter cake tin, so that there are no gaps (don’t worry about creases). Combine nuts, figs, sour cherries, chocolate and cocoa with half the cinnamon and ½ tsp ground white pepper in a bowl.
Stir honey and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then cook without boiling until syrupy (2-3 minutes).
Working quickly, pour honey mixture over nut mixture and mix well to combine, then spoon into prepared cake tin, pressing well into tin and smooth top with a hot, wet spatula. Bake until dark and glossy (30-35 minutes). Cool completely in tin (3-4 hours).
Combine extra cocoa with remaining cinnamon, remove panforte from tin and dust top with cocoa. Wrap tightly in baking paper, then in wrapping of your choice. The flavour of panforte will develop over time and actually tastes better after a few days. It will keep wrapped for up to a month, making it a perfect handmade gift.
Recipe from Gourmet Traveller December 2014 issue with very minor changes