Making Panforte

There are two kinds of panforte, “white” and “black.” White generally has more dried fruit in it, and is usually dusted with powdered sugar. The black version is generally spicier, nuttier and calls for cocoa powder (a novelty back when these cakes/candies first became popular). This panforte, quite frankly, is somewhere in between. But then why should I adhere to tradition when so few Italians do? Go to Italy and you’ll find hundreds of variations on the theme. For ideas on how to vary yours, refer to the recipe below. Begin by preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and roughly chopping the dried fruits and nuts:


Panforte Recipe

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