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Panforte is not like any fruit/nut cake you've ever had before - it is more like a confection than a cake, and a little goes a long way, indeed. I like a thin slice after dinner with a piece of cheese and a glass of Vin Santo. Salute!
- 3 cups whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 3⁄4 cups hazelnuts, roughly chopped (skinned or unskinned)
- 2 cups diced candied orange peel (as for fruitcake) or 2 cups mixed candied citron peel (as for fruitcake)
- 6 ounces dried apricots, diced
- 5 ounces dried figs, diced
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄3 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 3⁄4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3⁄4 cups honey
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325°F Coat the pan with cooking spray, then lay a round of parchment in the bottom, and then coat the top of the parchment with cooking spray. Dust flour all the way around the sides and the bottom and tap out any extra. The panforte will be very sticky, so you want the pan to be well-prepared.
- In a large bowl, toss together prepared almonds, hazelnuts, figs, apricots, and orange peels.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cocoa powder, orange zest, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and ground pepper. Make sure all the dry ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients to the fruit and nuts and toss together until everything is thoroughly coated.
- In a medium sauce pan with the candy thermometer attached, add the sugar, honey and butter and cook over medium heat until the temperature reaches 217°F Remove the pan from the heat and remove the candy thermometer. Quickly pour the sugar mixture over the fruit and nuts mixture and stir together with a nonstick spatula until everything is thoroughly coated.
- Pour into the prepared baking pan and spread the mixture around evenly.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the surface is bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- To serve, dust with powdered sugar and cut into thin slices. Wrap in parchment and plastic wrap to store.