Nancy Silverton
Co-Executive Chef/Co-Owner Campanile Restaurant
Los Angeles, California

This Italian after-dinner sweet is a nutty, chewy fruitcake. Any combination of dried fruits will work as long as the total weight of the fruit is one and one-quarter pounds. At Campanile we serve a wedge of this confection with Espresso Ice Cream and Almond Biscotti.

Panforte

Serves 16

  • 6 ounces whole unblanched almonds
  • 6 ounces whole unblanched hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 pounds dried organic fruits, any combination of apricots, figs, raisins, cranberries, cherries, prunes and pineapple.

Garnish: Confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2 Keeping them separate on a cookie sheet, toast the almonds and hazelnuts for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Place the hazelnuts in a dry towel and rub to remove the skins. Leave skins on the almonds.

3. In a large bowl toss the nuts with the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, flour and cocoa powder. Cut the fruits into 1/2-inch pieces and add, stirring to combine.

4. In a small saucepan over high heat bring the sugar and honey to a full boil and cook to 225 degrees (soft ball stage). Immediately pour into the fruit mixture and stir. The dough will be very stiff.

5. Generously butter and dust with flour or cocoa powder a 9-inch springfoam pan or 9 x 1-inch flan ring placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet. With buttered or wet hands, press the fruit mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 1 hour, until the edges look set and the top is slightly puffed. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan.

6. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and remove the sides. Store at room temperature. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, panforte will keep for several weeks. Before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar and slice into thin wedges.

Note: If the fruit is dry and hard, pour on boiling water to cover and let soften. Drain before using.

NANCY'S NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: To pester Mark to plant a better herb garden.


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