Sometimes we find that special recipe that makes our friends go “ooh, aah,” and makes our family members beg for more. This is one of those recipe. Full of dried fruit and nuts and and spices and, oh yes, chocolate, this is delicious with a cup of coffee after a meal, or for a mid-afternoon snack. I check out the local bulk food store for interesting dried fruit – for this version, I used dried strawberries, blueberries, golden berries, cranberries and figs. I use pistachios and pecans for the nuts because of allergies. And yes, I soak my fruit in Manischewitz wine, the only good use for that stuff!
The recipe comes from my friend Michal, who waves her magic spatula and casts wonderful spells with food in her kitchen. I made my panforte in a square silicon brownie pan, and after it cooled, I sliced it into thin strips, about 1 cm across, and then sliced each strip into shorter bars, about 4-5 cm long.
Here is Michal’s recipe: Drunk Panforte di Siena (text after the photos)
And here is what is looks like, in progress.
150 grams lightly toasted almonds
150 grams roasted and peeled hazelnuts
100 grams toasted pistachios
300 grams a mixture of dried fruits, chopped (I used: dried figs, dried apricots and dried cranberries)
50 grams candied citrus peel, chopped
Red wine and brandy – OPTIONAL (for soaking the dried fruits in them)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground coriander seeds
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp FRESH grated ginger
Orange zest from one orange
Lemon zest from one lemon
2 Tbsp good quality cocoa powder
50 grams flour (can be substituted with Gluten Free flour)
50 grams melted dark chocolate
100 grams honey
100 grams Date-honey/molasses or Carob molasses (dibs)
Optional – soak the chopped dried fruits in red wine and brandy overnight. The next day – Squeeze out the liquids. Place them in a large bowl.
Coarsely chop the nuts and add them to the dried fruits.
Add the fresh grated ginger, spices and flour.
Place the honey, date or carob-molasses and dark chocolate in a small saucepan and heat them till the chocolate melts. Continue cooking on low heat for 5 more minutes. Pour this syrup over the nuts and dried fruits and stir till you get an even mixture.
Scoop the mixture into a round 22 cm cake tin (2-3 cm high) or cake ring (greased and lined with parchment paper). Bake in 180 degrees C/350 F for about 40 minutes. Let it cool completely and even refrigerate overnight but take it out of the fridge 1/2 an hour before serving.
Sprinkle powdered sugar or cover with 56% almond-Marzipan which you rolled on a parchment paper and gently pressed onto the upper surface of the cake.