Thursday, December 26, 2013

Panforte

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
―     Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

 
If you are wondering what Panforte is, then let me tell you it is nothing but fruit cake. Yes. Panforte is the Italian version of fruit cake. Panforte literally means "strong bread". This medieval confection dates back to 13th century. This nougat like cake is much more than a confection. It is a traditional fruit cake that is packed with dried fruits, nuts, spices, honey sugar and in my case, golden syrup as well. There is flour, but only very little, as it is used to bind the other ingredients.


In this cake, the sugar and honey is cooked together and then mixed with the fruits and nuts mixture. This process gives this Christmas cake a candy like texture. Since this cake has a long shelf life, this makes a great edible gift. This flavor pack confection is quite addictive and hard to resist. Sink your teeth into this heavenly confection and I assure you, you will not be able to stop at one bite. Merry Christmas!!!


Panforte recipe:
Preparation time: 1-1/ 2 hour
Baking time: 35-40min
Makes at least 30-35 cubes
Ingredients:
Mixed nuts (I used cashews, almonds and pistachios) - 3-1/2 cups, toasted and roughly chopped.
Figs-1/3 cup, roughly chopped
Dates- 1/3 cup, chopped
Raisins- 2/3 cup
Prunes- 10, chopped
Apricot- 1/3 cup
Mixed peel- 200gms
All purpose flour- 1-1/2 cups or 360gm
Cocoa powder 2tbsp
Cinnamon powder- 1tspn
Ginger powder- 1 tspn
Cloves- 3-4' powdered
Finely grated nutmeg- 1/4 tsp
Freshly found black pepper powder- a pinch
Sugar- 1-1/4 cups, powdered
Honey-1/3 cup
Golden syrup- 1/3 cup
Icing sugar to dust (optional)



Method:
  • Grease and line 9"baking with a baking sheet and set aside.
  • Combine the nuts, figs, dates, raisins, prunes, apricots, mixed peel, flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger powder, pepper powder and mix till well combined.
  • Combine the sugar, honey and golden syrup in a thick bottomed pan and cook over medium heat  stirring occasionally. Until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Continue to boil the mixture for another ten minutes more till the mixture reaches the "soft ball stage".
  • Remove the sugar syrup from the heat and pour it over the fruit and nut mixture and mix well till all the ingredients are well combined. It will be sticky and gooey  batter.
  • Scrape the batter to the prepared pan and using a spatula spread the batter evenly into the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40min or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow the panforte to cool in the wire rack for 10min before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Cut the panforte into cubes and serve immediately or store in air tight containers. This sweet treat tastes best after several days as it matures with time.
Notes:
  • If  golden syrup is not available it can be replaced with equal quantity of honey.
  • As long as you stick to the original volume of fruits and nuts you can vary them as you like. You can use hazelnuts, or pine nuts as well. Even the spices can be varied as well. You can use coriander powder or white pepper powder.
  • This cake can  be baked in an 8" round pan and it can be cut into wedges.
  • To check if the sugar syrup has reached the soft ball stage, drop a small spoonful of syrup in a bowl of  cold water. Bring the solidified syrup out of the water with you hands. If you are able to form a soft flexible ball, then the sugars syrup is ready to be used.
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4 comments :

  1. these look so good! Absolutely gorgeous

    ReplyDelete
  2. A belated Happy New Year to you! Panforte looks delicious, I'd never heard of it until now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Divine! This is an Italian treat I really love. Your panforte looks amazing.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete

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