Italian Fruit Cake (Panforte)

Packed with nuts and dried fruit, this spiced Italian-style fruit cake is perfect for holiday gift giving. Simply cut into wedges and wrap in parchment or seal in a tin.


INGREDIENTS

Butter, for greasing the pan
1 tbsp. cocoa powder, for sprinkling in pan
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. cocoa powder, for the batter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Pinch freshly ground pepper or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
2 1/4 cups mixed nuts, peeled and toasted such as pine nuts, hazelnuts and pistachios
2 3/4 cup dried fruit, coarsely chopped, such as figs, apricots and currants
1/4 cup butter, melted (unsalted)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey


PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line bottom and sides of springform pan with parchment paper. Butter and dust pan with 1 tbsp. cocoa powder.

Add flour, 1 tbsp. cocoa, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and salt to a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the nuts and dried fruits and stir to combine.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally over medium heat.

Pour sugar and honey mixture over dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Scrape batter immediately into pan. Spread and press evenly into pan so batter is compact and dense. If needed, wet your hands lightly and use your hands to press the batter into the pan.

Place cake in centre of oven. Bake until edges start to rise slightly and become matte, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Cool completely in pan. Remove from pan and peel off the parchment paper. To serve, cut into small wedges.



Yield: About 20 servings.