On with the holiday recipes:
I've received a couple (ok, one... ok, ok... NONE) of emails asking what a "panforte" is. Hmmmm, let's see... "forte" means "strong", and "pan" means "pan", so I guess it translates to "a strong pan"?
No, no, I'm joking! If you like nuts and chocolate, then this is for YOU.
One Continental Panforte
What you kneed:
130 gms (a bit over 1/2 cup) macadamia nuts --note: I use cashews since they are a LOT cheaper here
130 gms chopped walnuts
130 gms slivered (not silvered) almonds
150 gms (2/3 cup) chopped, pitted, dates
180 gms (3/4 cup) sultanas --raisins are dried red grapes, sultanas are dried white grapes; you can use raisins if you like
250 gms (1 cup) cooking chocolate --you know, the kind for melting
60 gms (1/4 cup) desiccated coconut
125 gms (1/2 cup) flour
125 gms (still 1/2 cup) cocoa powder
125 gms (really! still 1/2 cup) icing sugar
60 gms (1/4 cup) butter
125 gms (gosh, still 1/2 cup) apricot jam
75 mls (1/3 cup) cherry brandy (leave a shot or two for the cook)
What you due:
Chuck all the nuts, fruits (sultana counts as a fruit here), coconut, flour, cocoa, and icing sugar in a bowl. Mix it all together.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler. (If you don't have a double boiler, then here's a neat trick (came up with it myself): put the choc and butt in a metal bowl, place the bowl over the top of a pan of boiling water. Duh! One instant double boiler! You can paypal me whatever amount you'd like for that tip.) Add the apricot jam and cherry brandy to the melting mixture and stir well.
Once the double boiler stuff is melted, then add it to the bowl of dry stuff and mix thoroughly.
Grease (butter) and line* (wax paper or grease-proof paper) a deep cake dish (or pretty much anything that'll go in the oven) and bake for 30 mins in a 150 C (300 F) oven.
When you pull it out, it'll seem moist and sticky but will firm up upon cooling.
Once it's cooled (at least two hours), pop that baby out and slice it up! Oh, it'll keep for weeks if you so desire (yeah, right!).
*you really don't need to line the dish, once it's cooled, just float it in a sink of hot water for a minute and then it'll slide right out.
This sucker weighs over 3 and a half pounds! Chocolate, nuts, brandy, etc! Ahhhhh, I'm not responsible for any increased waistlines... You've been warned.