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Perfect Panforte

We like to use raisins, dried cranberries, mixed peel and/or chopped dried apricots or figs for this decadent dessert, but you can play around with different types of fruit and nuts as long as you keep the quantities constant. Annabel always dons a clean pair of dishwashing gloves to mix this dense Italian festive fruit cake as it’s too heavy to mix with a spoon and you need to work fast so the toffee mixture doesn't set before it’s mixed through the fruit and nuts. Panforte is very rich, so serve it in very thin slices. It also makes a lovely gift.

Prep Time

15 mins

Cook Time

35 mins



Dairy Free


Gluten Free



Special Occasions




2 1/2 cups dried fruit, such as raisins, dried cranberries, mixed peel and/or chopped dried apricots or figs

1 cup roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

1 cup roasted hazlenuts, skinned and halved

1/2 cup plain flour

2 tbsp good-quality cocoa

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup sugar

60 g dark chocolate, chopped

icing sugar, to dust



Preheat oven to 150°C fanbake.

Thoroughly grease a 20cm-diameter springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper.


Combine fruit, nuts, flour, cocoa and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Combine honey and sugar in a pot and boil until a little mixture dropped into a glass of cold water forms a soft ball.

Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour into dry ingredients and quickly mix with a very strong wooden spoon until combined.


Press into prepared tin and bake until set (about 35 minutes).

Remove from tin while still warm.

When cool, dust liberally with icing sugar.

Stored in an airtight container it will keep for weeks.


We often free-form small panfortes on the baking tray so we can cook a whole lot at one time without needing a lot of baking tins. They do tend to spread a little when they cook, so just round them up into tight circles with a flat knife after they come out of the oven then leave them to set and cool fully before you take them off the baking paper and store them.

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