Paneforte

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A traditional Italian Christmas cake which we would have every year, homemade, of course. Serve with Lemoncello or Sambuca.

Serves 12
115g (4oz) whole blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped * 115g (4oz) hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped * 200g (7oz) mixed candied orange and lemon peel, chopped * 115g (4oz) dried figs, roughly chopped * finely grated zest of 1 lemon * ½tsp ground cinnamon * ½tsp freshly grated nutmeg * ½tsp ground allspice * 85g (3oz) plain flour * 30g (1oz) unsalted butter * 140g (5oz) caster sugar * 4 tbsp clear honey * icing sugar, to dust

Line the base and sides of an 18cm/7 inch cake tin with baking paper, then put a disc of rice paper on top of the paper. Pre-heat the oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Put the almonds, hazelnuts, candied peel, figs, lemon zest , cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and flour in a large bowl. Mix well.

Put the butter, caster sugar and honey in a pan. Heat gently until melted. Pour into the fruit and nut mixture and stir to combine. Spoon into the prepared tin and with damp hands press down to create a smooth, even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven, leaving it in the tin to cool and become firm.

When completely cold, remove the panforte from the tin. Peel off the parchment, but leave the rice paper stuck to the bottom of the cake. Dust heavily with icing sugar and serve cut into small wedges.

Paneforte

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