Saturday, December 11, 2010


At this time of year I love to pull out my (growing) pile of Christmas Cook Books and Cooking Magazines - I'm not really sure why because Christmas is the one time of the year when I cook primarily the old tried and tested recipes - but I can always be inspired.  During this years "Mega Cookbook Fest" I realized that I have never made Panforte (I've never actually tasted it for that matter), so I have decided to rectify this.

I wasn't completely grabbed by any of the recipes I have, they all have good elements, so I decided to pick the best bits, add one or two ideas of my own, and hay presto ..... I present to you Brownieville Panforte!! (with sincere apologies to all Italian readers!)

I decided that some cranberries were needed in there, for colour as well as for their welcome tartness.  A small glug of alcohol is nicely seasonal, I thought the chocolate covered candied orange was a great idea (borrowed) and of course you have to have a bit of cocoa in there. 

The end result is like a Christmas flavoured, nutty, fruity toffee - can't be bad!
I am submitting this recipe to The Most Wanted Yule Blog Bake Off, and they have asked for step by step photos ( made me way more organised than usual!)

I started off by toasting the hazelnuts, although I only used 125g in the Panforte, I always toast a whole bag full and store any left over in the freezer - handy for next time!

Combine the blanched almonds, chocolate covered candied peel, figs, hazelnuts and cranberries.

Put butter, honey and sugar together into a small pan on a medium heat.  Allow to bubble away nicely for 3 -4 minutes.

All the ingredients in waiting!

Add the flour, cocoa and spices to the fruit and nut mixture.

Pour the butter, honey and sugar bubbling mixture into the nut and fruit and stir well.

Press firmly into am 8"/20cm baking tin which you have lined with baking paper and buttered well (this is really important as it is such a sticky mixture)

I tried making a snowflake template to decorate the cake, showing you why my only creative outlet is cooking!!!

                                                                 Much better!


125g                          blanched almonds
125g                          hazelnuts (roasted and skinned)
125g                          cranberries
150g                          chocolate covered candied orange*
50g                            chopped figs
1 tsp                          cinnamon
1/4 tsp                       ground cloves
1/2 tsp                       mixed spice
Pinch                         nutmeg
Pinch                         white pepper
2 tbsp                        sherry (or orange liqueur)
70g                            plain flour
2 tbsp                        cocoa
30g                            butter
150g                          honey
150g                          sugar (I used golden caster sugar)

Prepare an 8"/20 cm tin with parchment paper and plenty of butter
Preheat the oven to 170 C

Combine the nuts and fruits in a bowl.
Add the flour, cocoa and spices and mix well.
Bring the butter, honey and sugar to a bubble in a small saucepan on a medium heat.
Allow to bubble away for a few minutes.
Add this hot mixture to the fruit and nuts and stir well.
Now add the alcohol and stir again you will need your hands towards the end of mixing.
Press firmly into the prepared tin.
Bake for about 30 minutes - it is ready when the top of the cake starts to bubble.
Allow the cake to cook completely in the tin.
Decorate with icing sugar.
It will keep for a good while if kept in an airtight tin.

*Any candied fruit/peed would be fine

This is my entry for the Most Wanted Yule Blog Bake Off Challenge  which is being held by



Chele said...

I too have never tasted panforte but this is looking and sounding so yummy I think I will need to add this to my growing list of recipes to try for Christmas lol. I'm loving the step by step photos too ;0)

Gloria Baker said...

This look fantastict Brownie girl and I love photos and your Santa is so cute! gloria

Sommer said...

this sounds perfect! love the ingredients used in this!!

haha, and like you, my only creative outlet is cooking as well :)

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

I m speechless actually...sounds awesome..excellent clicks..
Tasty appetite

Someone said...

mmmm these looks so goooooood!

Unknown said...

god this looks good!...I've so much to make that it seems to have paralyzed me... barely put my tree up today... help!

Jemima said...

Wow that looks fab. I have been thinking about what to take into work, as I don't give Christmas cards to people that I see (as I can wish them a merry time in person, and save paper), so this might just do the trick. AND I have all of those ingredients in my (rammed) cupboards. Happy Days!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Wow, that looks good. Like Dom I am running out of time and I want to cook or bake everything I see. Where does the day go.

Kim said...

I love how you decorated the panforte with the powdered sugar. It looks awesome!

Rhyleysgranny said...

Looks gorgeous. I enjoyed your step by step. The photos there are gorgeous too and make an exciting lead to the final product. Lovely. Fabulous entry for the bake off. x

Brownieville Girl said...

Thanks Chele - I'm looking forward to making your panettone too!

Thanks Gloria - his sign says "Please Help Do The Dishes" (wishful thinking)!!

What about your fantastic photography Sommer - seems pretty creative to me!

Thanks a million Jay and Chris.

But your tree is so beautiful Dom, you're allowed a bit of paralysis!

Great idea LC!

FBMKW - We need to take a collective deep breath!!!! It all gets done in the end (says she who doesn't have one present bought!!)

Thanks Kim.

You are very kind Granny!

art is in the kitchen said...

What a wonderful cake to serve for the holidays! Exquisite ingredients and surprisingly not so difficult to make! Impressive indeed! I like this better than fruitcake. Delicious and amazing work! Thanks for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

I love paneforte but it's such an involved treat to make at home... you make it seem very doable though. I might just have to give it a try!

Julie said...

I've never even heard of it, but it sounds delicious. And perfect for this time of year! said...

Cool! The snowflake idea is the best thing I have ever seen! I can't wait to try that out on my next cake! -
P.S. I have never had panforte....strong bread? It looks delish. Lucky you!


Jacqueline Meldrum said...

What an amazing list of ingredients. Oh the flavours. I want a slice of that right now. I am going back up to see if I have the ingredients. Oh fiddlesticks it will have to wait.

ps why not entry your last photo into this month's No Croutons Required, the topic is festive photos. Let me know if you want to include it xx

Brownieville Girl said...

Michelangelo, thanks, you are right it is very easy to make and it keeps so well it would be handy to keep for guests/gifts!

Cosy, I'd love to hear how you get on if you try it!

Julie, Thank you!

Megan, I'm sure you'll do a much better job than I did!

Jacqueline - I have a post waiting to submit for the No Croutons Required, just finding it hard to choose from all the snowy photos!!

Anonymous said...

oh impressive! i really love it thanks for sharing this with us..

Laura said...

Wow sounds absolutely decadent and delicious! I'll have to try this one soon - thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

What's not to love about this! I am definitely giving this a try next week. Come on over and join me for Merry, Merry Munchies 2010. There's a giveaway going on:)

Nic said...

That is lovely, I keep meaning to make one but never got around to it.
Love the way you put the snowflake decoration on the top!