INGREDIENTS PER 20 PEOPLE
Skinned hazelnuts, 1 ¼ cups
Whole blanched almonds, 1 1/4 cups
Mixed candied peels (or a mixture of candied orange peel and candied lemon peel), 3 cups
Ground cloves, ¼ tsp
Ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp
Ground white pepper, 1/8 tsp
Ground cinnamon, ½ tsp
Unbleached all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Sugar, 2/3 cup
Honey, 2/3 cup
Butter, 2 tbsp
Confectioners’ sugar, for topping
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8″ round cake pan with parchment and grease it. Set the pan aside.
Toast the hazelnuts and almonds for about 20 minutes, until they’re lightly golden brown, on separate baking pans. It’s better to do it in separate pans because the nuts toast at slightly different rates and you may want to take one pan out of the oven before the other. Remove the nuts from the oven and set them aside to cool. When you manage to handle them, chop them coarsely.
Put nuts, candied peel, spices, salt and flour in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
Add the sugar, honey and butter in a saucepan, then place an instant-read or candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches a temperature of about 245°F. This happens very quickly, in about 2 minutes (or less) from the time the syrup starts to boil.
Pour the boiling syrup immediately over the fruit and nuts in the bowl. Stir to combine and pour into the prepared cake pan, smoothing the top by using a spatula. It is necessary to work fast, as the mixture soon starts to stiffen up. Place the cake pan on the baking sheet.
Bake for about 40-45 mins; it won’t seem firm, but will set as it cools. Then remove the pan from the oven and after about 45 minutes loosen the edges by means of a table knife or heat-proof spatula. Then turn the warm panforte out of the pan onto a piece of parchment or foil. The bottom is now the top.
Use confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle the top of the panforte heavily with confectioners’ sugar, gently rubbing it in, if desired. Be sure to let it cool completely before wrapping airtight.
Store the cake, at room temperature, for up to 2 months. To serve it, cut it in thin wedges.
Yield: about 20 servings.
To make chocolate panforte:
Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa to the mixture of nuts, peel and flour. Melt 1/2 cup of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips; then stir them into the mixture along with the honey syrup. Bake as directed in the recipe above.
Thanks to: Jovina Cooks Italian