It has been two years since I have been wanting to try Panforte. Finally the A-Z Baking around the World made it happen.
Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert which is served for Christmas. It contains fruits and nuts and resembles a fruit cake. We could say it is a cross between a fruit cake, candy and honey cakes. The name Panaforte means strong bread perhaps due to its strong spicy flavors. Of course these spices are optional, but definitely enhance the flavor. The cake is also popular as Siena Cake.
The cake has very little flour, just enough to bind it.I made this cake twice. The first time I over baked it and it became slightly hard. Since the shelf life of this cake is a few months I saved it and shall use as praline in my desserts. The second cake came out perfect .It was a cake which was more like a fudge and we simply loved the flavors of nuts, chocolate and candy peel. Since the cake is finished by rubbing icing sugar it gives that festive feel.
1 cup almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 cup candied fruits
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
100 gms semi sweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups honey
2 tbsp butter
Combine all nuts, dry fruits and spices.
Melt chocolate on a double boiler.
Stir the melted chocolate in the nut mixture.
Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
Line a tin with parchment paper.
Stir sugar, honey and butter over medium heat, bringing to a boil.
Make sure you do not stir.
Boil till115deg C or 240 deg F.
Check using a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat.
Pour over the mix and quickly stir.
Transfer to the prepared tin.
Smooth with wet palms or spatula.
Bake for 30 minutes.
When cool rub icing sugar.
Make sure you use a loose bottom tin or spring form tin.