1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups each whole almonds and hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup each sweetened dried cranberries, coarsely chopped dried apricots, and
coarsely chopped dried pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons chopped mixed peel
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Panforte — a cross between a cake and a candy—is a classic Italian Christmas treat. It’s a very dense, rich confection loaded with nuts, dried fruit, and spices (the name means “strong bread”). It’s delicious with coffee, dessert wine, Champagne, or Prosecco.
1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment
paper and then grease the paper. Combine 1 tablespoon of the flour and 1⁄2
teaspoon of the cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle in pan, tilt to coat bottom
and sides. Shake to evenly distribute extra mixture in bottom of pan. Set aside.
2. Place 2/3 cup each of the almonds and hazelnuts in shallow baking pan. Bake
for 6 to 10 minutes, or until toasted. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to
300º F. Place remaining nuts in food processor and pulse 5 to 10 times, or until
the nuts are finely ground. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining flour, cinnamon, and spice. Add the
dried cranberries, fruit, and peel. Mix until the fruit is well coated with the
flour mixture. Stir in toasted and ground nuts. Mix well.
4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar and honey.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook for about 1 minute, or until the
sugar is dissolved. Pour over the fruit and nut mixture and mix well (the
mixture will be very stiff). Spoon into the prepared pan, and with lightly
moistened hands, press firmly and evenly into pan, smoothing top.
5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown. (Cake will
be soft, but becomes firm when cool.) Cool in the pan on a wire rack 1 hour.
Loosen the edge with small knife. Invert onto the wire rack, peel off the
parchment paper, and dust off any excess flour-cinnamon mixture. Invert again
onto the rack. Store at room temperature covered tightly with foil or in Ziploc
bag. Before serving, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into small wedges.
(Recipe courtesy of Ocean Spray Cranberry Growers)