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Mid-Winter Christmas Panforte

This traditional Italian sweet treat is a combination of flavours synonymous with Christmas. It’s perfect for any mid-winter festivities that you may have planned.

Words and photography: Miggs McTaylor

My vegan version uses a spiced buckwheat maple batter to bind together a selection of dried fruit and nuts. Like all traditional recipes, the combination of fruit and nuts varies greatly and is a matter of personal preference. My selection was partly seasonal and allergen related.

Any combination of 350g mixed nuts and 250g mixed dried fruit, just think about the combination of colours and textures.

Ingredients

  • 150g walnuts
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 100g whole pistachio nuts
  • 30g dried plum
  • 30g sultanas
  • 40g goji berries
  • 100g soft dried figs
  • 50g diced apricots
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 150g buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 30ml marsala or any fortified wine
  • 150g organic golden castor sugar
  • 150g maple syrup

What to do

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.

Line a 20cm cake tin with a removable base with edible rice paper or greaseproof paper.

Put the nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for five minutes, then allow to cool slightly.

Turn the oven down to 160ºC.

Tip a third of the toasted nuts into a food processor and roughly grind into small pieces or roughly chop with a knife.

Quarter the figs and any large fruit pieces you choose to use.

Sieve the buckwheat flour and spices into a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine and stir in the fruit and nuts.

Heat the castor sugar, marsala and maple syrup in a small pot until it reaches 115ºC, then immediately stir into the other ingredients until well combined. Scrape into the lined baking tin and press down with wet hands and smooth the surface.

Bake for about 30 minutes until just firm, then allow to cool before removing from the tin and sprinkling with icing sugar.

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