Eveline de Heij from The Hague Honey (Haagse Honing) gave me this recipe for Panforte when I interviewed her last summer. I had never made the famous Italian fruitcake and was eager to try it, but since Panforte is the ultimate Christmas recipe I decided to wait a little… So here it is!
A good Panforte contains a fair amount of different nuts, fruits, and spices. You can play around with the combinations of each. Below I mention which combinations I used. Panforte is forte, in other words it’s heavy stuff. Believe me, you’re not going to eat the whole cake by yourself over the Holidays! But no worries, the cake lasts forever and a piece of homemade Panforte is the perfect edible Christmas gift for friends and family. Store the Panforte for at least one or two days before eating if you can, the flavours will develop much better this way. Serve it in very small wedges with a coffee or vin santo. Happy Holidays!
I added some extra citrus zest, because I think it enhances the unique flavor of the cake. But you can leave it out, of course. Click here for more information about Eveline’s honey.
Serves a lot of people
Action Time: 25-30 minutes + 30 minutes oven time
16 oz/450 g mixed dried fruits*
16 oz/450 g mixed unsalted nuts, coarsely chopped**
3.5 oz/100 g all-purpose flour or buckwheat flour (gluten free option)
7 oz/200 g flower honey
7 oz/200 g sugar
3.5 oz/100 g butter
grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange (optional)
icing sugar (optional)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of salt
Extra: greased springform baking pan or silicone baking mold (9 inch/23-24 cm), parchment paper, kitchen thermometer
* I used 3.5 oz/100 g candied orange peel, 3.5 oz/100 g dried cranberries, 4.5 oz/125 g finely chopped dried figs, 4.5 oz/125 g finely chopped soft dried ready-to-eat apricots.
** I used 5.5 oz/150 g blanched almonds, 5.5 oz/150 g hazelnuts, 2,5 oz/75 g walnuts, and 2.5 oz/75 g pecans, and roasted the nuts for 5-7 minutes in a 375F/190C oven until light golden brown.
1. Preheat the oven to 320F/160C. Line the bottom of the baking pan with parchment paper (no need to do this if you use a silicone mold). In a large bowl, mix the nuts, dried fruits, flour, and, if using, the grated orange and lemon zest. Add all the spices, a pinch of salt, and mix well.
2. In a small pan heat the honey with the sugar and butter until bubbly. Cook for several minutes until the caramel has reached a temperature of 266F/130C. Remove from the heat and pour onto the nut mixture. Mix well, until everything is covered with the caramel.
3. Spoon and press the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Remove from the baking pan and dust with a little icing sugar if you like. Serve in small wedges.