This is my entry for VoucherCodes.co.uk Most wanted Yule – Blog bake off. The challenge quiet simply is to bake and blog a recipe that epitomises christmas. Panforte may not be the most obvious recipe to fit the requirements but at this time of year the food blogs are full of recipes for christmas puddings, cakes and mince pies so I decided to find a recipe a little bit different. I nearly made another gingerbread house but unfortunately I just didn’t have the time this year. So back to the drawing board I went (or rather my ever growing cookbook and food magazine collection).
Inspiration finally struck whilst visiting Manchester Christmas markets. Its become a bit of a tradition of our to take a day off mid week in December and visit the markets. We finish our christmas shopping in the shops, wander round the markets, eat lunch at one of the many food stalls and drink mulled wine and warming fruit punches. Stalls come from all over Europe including Germany, France and Italy. There is always a stall selling traditional Italian biscuits and this reminded me that I had seen a recipe for Panforte in Sainsburys magazine in early November.
Panforte is a traditional spiced festive treat from Siena (it seemed fitting to bake panforte this christmas since we will be getting married not far from there next summer). It may not be the first sweet treat you think of when you think of christmas but all the key elements are there – dried fruit and nuts, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
It also keeps well (Important at this busy time of year so you can bake it ahead of time) and is relatively straight forward to bake. The end result is a deliciously, festive, chewy sweet treat. Perfect to serve with coffee over the festive period or perhaps to give as gifts.
75g blanched almonds
75g blanched hazelnuts
50g unsalted shelled pistachios
225g mixed dried apricots, figs, pitted Medjool dates and candied peel, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each groung ginger, ground cloves, ground nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper
75g plain flour, sifted
200g clear honey
200g caster sugar
icing sugar to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4. Oil and line an 18cm square non-stick loose bottomed tin. Scatter the almonds and hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes until golden. Lower the oven temperature to 150C, fan 130 C, gas 2. Cool the nuts, then chop with the pistachios and tip into a large bowl. Add the chopped dried fruit and mix well. In another small bowl, mix the spices, flour, cocoa and a pinch of salt. Add to the dried fruit and nuts and mix thoroughly.
- In a medium pan, stir the honey and sugar over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring slowly to the boil, then bubble for two minutes.
- Remove from the heat, pour into the fruit and nut mixture and quickly mix with a large wooden spoon. Spoon into the tin and level the surface. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, then leave to cool in the tin. Once cold remove from the tin. Cut into squares with a sharp knife and dust with icing sugae to serve.