White plank board with a Whole panforte with wedge cut out deploying the selection of fruit and nuts used

 

 

This Plant-based Panforte is a delicious version of the traditional Italian sweet treat, a combination of flavours synonymous with Christmas. If carefully wrapped and stored, panforte has a long shelf life, the perfect make-ahead gift for Christmas or Solstice Festivities.

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 balance colours and textures too.

Plant-based Panforte

Ingredients:

• 150g walnuts
• 100g each hazelnuts and whole pistachio nuts

or 350g mixture of nuts of your choice

  • 30g each dried plums and sultanas
  • 40g goji berries
  • 100g soft dried figs
  • 50g diced apricots

or 250g mixed dried fruits of your choice

  • Zest 2 Oranges
  • 150g buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp each cinnamon, cardamom and ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 150g golden castor sugar
  • 30mls marsala
  • 150g maple syrup

Method:

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 into 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.
Put castor sugar and maple syrup in a small pot and heat until the temperature reaches 115ºC. Whisk in marsala then immediately pour into the other ingredients and stir until well combined.

Scrape panforte batter into the lined 19.5 – 21cm baking tin and press down with wet hands, smoothing the surface as much as possible.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until just firm, then allow to cool before turning out and sprinkling with icing sugar.

Serve slices with a glass of Egg(less) Nog for an extra special festive treat.

Panforte has a long shelf life at room temperature if stored in an airtight container in a cool place, use a vac pack if you have one.

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