Half fruitcake, half honey cake, this sweet, chewy Italian dessert is made with roasted nuts, citrus peels and spices.
Makes:32

Ingredients

  • 400g (14oz) natural mixed nuts e.g. almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts
  • 100g (3½ oz) cut mixed peel
  • 100g (3½ oz) plain flour
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 sheets edible wafer paper
  • 175g (6oz) honey, clear or set
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar

For the topping

  • 1 level tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ level tsp ground cinnamon
  • 20cm (8in) round, shallow tin
  • Sugar thermometer

Method

  1. Set the oven to 200°C or gas mark 6.
  2. Spread the nuts out on a baking tray and bake them in the centre of the oven for about 10 mins, turning occasionally, so that they turn an even, light brown colour. Remove nuts from the oven and leave them to cool.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C or gas mark 2. Roughly chop the nuts and place them in a bowl. Add the mixed peel, flour and cinnamon, and mix together well.
  4. Arrange the edible wafer paper sheets in the tin, overlapping them, so that the base and sides of the tin are covered, and pressing them in around the edge at the base. The sheets can overlap, and can be left with jagged edges sticking out above the top of tin.
  5. Put the honey and sugar in a pan, place over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil. Boil the syrup without stirring until it reaches the soft-ball stage of 115°C, measured by a sugar thermometer; if you don’t have one, drop a little of the mixture into a bowl of cold water and when it forms a soft ball, it’s ready. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the syrup over the nut mixture. Working quickly, stir the ingredients together, tip out into the lined tin and press it down well in an even layer.
  6. Bake the Panforte in the centre of the oven for 30-35 mins, until the mixture is a light golden colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 mins. Remove it from the tin and place it on a wire rack. Sift icing sugar and cinnamon over.
  7. When cold, either break off or cut off any excess wafer paper. Wrap the Panforte tightly in a freezer bag or several layers of cling film, and then wrap it up in a decorative fabric or paper to give it as a present. The Panforte will keep well-wrapped or in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks (not suitable for freezing).

Gift idea: We wrapped our Panforte in soft, sew-in Vilene, which is available from good fabric and haberdashery stores. It’s tied with a pretty ribbon and a Christmas decoration gives a final flourish.Per serving: 141 calories, 9g fatFeature: Sue McMahon. Photos: Simon Pask. Props stylist: Sue Radcliffe

Nutritional information per portion

fat 9.0g calories 141(kcal)

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.