Chocolate Panforte (Siena Cake)

Serves 10

  • 125g whole blanched almonds
    125g hazelnuts
    100g glace orange slices, diced
    75g glace figs, chopped
    75g glace apricots, chopped
    finely grated rind of 1 large orange
    2/3 cup plain flour
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    2 teaspoons mixed spice
    1½ teaspoons ground allspice (pimento)
    75g good quality dark cooking chocolate, broken
    1/3 cup Bundaberg caster sugar
    ½ cup honey
    Bundaberg pure icing sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 160oC.  Grease and line base and sides of a 20cm round baking pan with non-stick baking paper. Set aside.
2. Spread almonds over half a large baking tray and spread hazelnuts over the other half. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly roasted. Wrap hazelnuts in a tea towel and rub vigorously to remove skins. Coarsely chop almonds and hazelnuts and place in a large heatproof bowl. Add glace fruit and orange rind to nuts and mix to combine.
3. Sift together flour, cocoa and spices. Add to fruit and nut mixture and stir to combine.
4. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until melted (ensure that the bowl does not touch the water). Set aside.
5. Place caster sugar and honey in a small saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Occasionally brush down sides of saucepan with a heatproof pastry brush dipped in cold water, to prevent crystals forming.
6. Pour melted chocolate, then honey mixture onto fruit mixture and working quickly, stir to combine. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth surface with lightly wet hands. Bake 35 minutes. The mixture will still feel somewhat soft. Cool in pan.
7. To serve, remove from pan, dust with icing sugar and cut into pieces.

Tips:

- mixed citrus peel can replace glace orange slices.
- other glace fruit such as glace pineapple and glace peaches can replace glace figs and apricots.
- glace fruits are available from most delicatessens and specialty food shops.
- panforte keeps up to one week. Wrap in foil and place in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate.