This traditional Italian sweet treat is a combination of flavours synonymous with Christmas, If carefully wrapped and stored, panforte has a long shelf life so you could start getting ready now.
My plant-based version uses a spiced buckwheat maple batter to bind a selection of dried fruit and nuts. Like all traditional recipes, the combination of fruit and nuts varies greatly according to taste and need; my selection was partly seasonal and partly allergen-related; however (as much as possible) I also like to think about the colours and textures.
• 150g walnuts
• 100g hazelnuts
• 100g whole pistachio nuts
or 350g mixture of nuts of your choice
• 30g dried plums
• 30g sultana
• 40g goji berries
• 100g soft dried figs
• 50g diced apricots
or 250g mixed dried fruits of your choice
• zest of 2 oranges
• 150g buckwheat flour
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp cardamon
• 1 tsp ginger
• ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
• 30mls marsala or any fortified wine
• 150g organic golden castor sugar
• 150g maple syrup
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC
Line 20cm cake tin with a removable base greaseproof paper.
Put the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for five minutes, allow to cool slightly.
Turn the oven down to 160ºC.
Tip a third of the toasted nuts into a food processor and roughly grind into small pieces or roughly chop.
Chop the figs and any large fruit pieces you choose to use itno bite size pieces.
Sieve the buckwheat flour and spices into a large heatproof mixing bowl, whisk to combine and stir in the fruit and nuts.
Heat the castor sugar, marsala and maple syrup in a small pot until it reaches 115ºC, then immediately stir into the other ingredients until well combined, scrape into the lined baking tin and press down with wet hands, smooth the surface as much as possible.
Bake for about 30 minutes until just firm, then allow to cool before turning out and sprinkling with icing sugar.
Panforte has a long shelf life at room temperature if storedin an airtight container in a cool place, vac pac if you have one.