This is a very Christmas-feeling sweetmeat, but can really be enjoyed any time of year. I’ve drastically reduced the amount of spice to make it more of an anytime treat. To give it the full-on yuletide treatment, triple the cinnamon and double the cloves. For those who like theirs spicy — and the original version of this dish were quite spicy — add a teaspoon or so or fresh ground black pepper. You can even spike it with a little cayenne if you want!
16 ounces (3 cups) blanched whole almonds
9 ounces (1 3/4 cups) whole hazelnuts, skinned or unskinned
12 ounces (2 cups) diced candied orange peel
6 ounces (1 cup) dried apricots, diced
5 ounces (1 cup) dried figs, diced
5 ounces (1 cup) bleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
16 ounces ounces (2 1/4 cups) sugar
16 ounces honey (1 1/3)
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position a rack in the center of your oven. Prepare a single 9″ layer cake pan for baking like so. Chop the nuts and dried fruits and combine them in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa and spices. Combine the two mixtures thoroughly.
Combine the honey, sugar and butter in a saucepan. Cook the mixture to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour this mixture over the fruit and flour mixture. Stir everything together and scrape into the cake pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until the panforte is bubbling. Cool the pan completely on a wire rack. De-pan the panforte and wrap it in parchment paper, then plastic wrap. Store it in a cool, dry place for up to 3 weeks. When you’re ready to serve it, dust it lightly with powdered sugar and cut it into thin slices.