Christmas Panforte

    30 minutes

    Have a go at making the special Italian Christmas cake you've probably seen in delis. ideally, use rice paper to line the tin - then you can eat that too! - but baking paper is also fine.

    1 person made this

    Serves: 12 

    • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
    • 1 teaspoon cloves
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 100g roasted hazelnuts
    • 100g roasted almonds
    • 50g finely chopped dried figs
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa
    • 200-225g roughly chopped orange and lemon peel
    • grated zest of 1 lemon
    • 50g flour
    • 150g sugar
    • 4 tablespoons honey
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • icing sugar, to dust

    Preparation:5min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:30min 

    1. Butter and line the base of a 20cm springform tin with either baking paper or rice paper. Cut a few thin strips to line the side as well. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.
    2. Grind the whole spices together in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Put the nuts in a bowl with the spices, figs, cocoa, candied peel, lemon zest and flour and mix.
    3. Put the sugar, honey and butter in a saucepan to melt. Briefly stir the butter into the sugar as it starts to melt. Do NOT stir again or the sugar will crystallize. Bring to the boil and cook until the syrup reaches 120 degrees C (or until a little of it dropped into cold water forms a soft ball when moulded between your finger and thumb.)
    4. Immediately pour the syrup into the nut mixture and mix well, working quickly before it cools and stiffens. Scrape it into the tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
    5. Bake for 20 minutes. Note that this cake will not brown or become firm when cooked, but it will begin to harden as it cools. Allow it to cool a little in the tin until it is firm enough to remove the side of the tin.
    6. If the mixture is still quite soft when cooled, place in the fridge to set. Dust the top with icing sugar to serve.

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