I have seen a lot of recipes for panforte over the years and I was always interested in giving it a go, but for some reason I never did. This year I decided it was time to finally take on the panforte challenge. I have to say that it is quite easy to make except when it comes to stirring in the hot syrup. They are not joking when they tell you to quickly mix it all together - it turns as hard as rock really, really quickly! I found it incredibly hard to stir - it definitely gave my arm a good workout. The other trouble I had was with baking it - after the allotted 45 minutes mine was no where near baked through but the top and edges were starting to brown. So I ended up having to remove it from the oven, wrap it in a few layers of aluminum foil and then bake again for around 20 minutes at around 275 F. That seemed to do the trick.
The end result is a tasty Christmas treat with lots of dried fruit and nuts, that sends a lovely honey-cinnamon aroma through the house. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try.
Makes 60 pieces
330g caster sugar
1 cup honey
300g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
750g mixed dried fruit
250g blanched almonds, roasted
250g hazelnuts, roasted
pure icing sugar, to dust (I didn't bother with the icing sugar)
- Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm cake pan.
- Heat sugar and honey in a heavy-based saucepan on low, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and boil until mixture reaches 115 C on a sugar thermometer. (If you don't have a sugar thermometer, drop a little of mixture into cold water - it should form a soft ball.)
- Meanwhile, combine flour, spices, dried fruit and nuts in a bowl. Add hot syrup and quickly mix together (really quickly!). Scrape mixture into prepared pan. Use wet hands to pat down flat. Bake for 45 minutes (see above for what I had to do to get it to bake). Cool in pan.
- Turn out and dust liberally with icing sugar. Cut into thin slices (warning: you need serious arm muscles to slice it).
Me - 4/5 - I love the rich honey flavour together with the fruit and nuts.