panforte is an italian dessert. its sort a cross between a confection and a cake...a little fruitcakeiness to it too. its yummy, gooey, dense and good. i haven't made this in years but we are having quite a x-mas and i always make italian for x-mas so hopefully this will be a new one added to my list! i got the recipe off of epicurious. it was printed in gourmet december of 2002. i changed it slightly, adding different fruits and fruits and some orange zest.
4 teaspoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder plus additional for dusting
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted and loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel and chopped
1 cup dried unsulfured apricots, cut into halves
1 cup dried mission figs, each cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
1/2 cup candied citron
zest or 2 oranges
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup honey
Special equipment: a 9-inch springform pan; parchment paper; a candy thermometer
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Line springform pan with parchment, using a round for bottom and a strip for side. Butter paper well and dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
Whisk together flour, spices, salt, and 4 teaspoons cocoa in a large bowl, then stir in nuts and fruit.
Bring sugar and honey to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil without stirring until thermometer registers 238 to 240°F, about 2 minutes.
Immediately pour honey over fruit mixture and quickly stir until combined (mixture will be very thick and sticky). Quickly spoon mixture into springform pan, spreading evenly with back of spoon. Dampen your hands and press mixture firmly and evenly into pan to compact as much as possible. Bake in middle of oven until edges start to rise slightly and become matte, 50 to 55 minutes.
Cool panforte completely in pan on a rack, then remove side of pan and invert, peeling off paper. If making ahead, wrap panforte (see cooks' note, below). To serve, cut with a serrated knife into small pieces.
• The flavors of panforte deepen over time — it's best made at least 1 week ahead and chilled in a large sealed plastic bag. It can be made 1 month ahead and chilled, wrapped in parchment and then kept in a sealed plastic bag.