Sometimes this is called Italian fruitcake, but if you’re going to call it that, be prepared to forget everything you know about fruitcake. Panforte is a spicey, nutty, fruity confection that just screams for a strong espresso. My aunt Sarah said it’s the best trail bar she’s ever had. I prefer to think of it as a bit more sophisticated than that. But you get the idea – it’s full of good for you ingredients while still being decadent. I developed this recipe while working at Ecco Il Pane in Vancouver and I think it’s the best!
1¼ cups whole almonds
1¼ cups whole hazelnuts
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1¼ lbs dried fruit, chopped if large (use any combination you like. My essentials are raisins, figs, and apricots. Everything else is a bonus)
½ cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch of pepper
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup honey
2 Tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 300°.
Prepare a 9″ springform pan by spraying it with baking spray then lining the bottom and sides with parchment. Now spray the parchment. Place on a baking sheet.
Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Rub off as much of the hazelnut skins as possible. Set nuts aside to cool somewhat.
Combine the chopped dried fruit, flour, zest, spices, cocoa, and nuts.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, honey and butter to 240º. Immediately pour over the fruit mixture and combine as well as possible. Press into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The pan forte is done when the centre is puffed slightly.
Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife. Keep wrapped at room temperature for several weeks.