First published in 2016
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Stir-up Sunday’ may be traditionally a day to make your Christmas pudding, but it is also a great opportunity to get ahead and make other Christmas treats. Panforte is a traditional Italian cake originating from the Tuscan city of Siena. Packed full of nuts, fruit, honey and spices, it has an almost candy-like chewy texture and flavour that is hard to resist.

Panforte is quite straightforward to make, but do line the base with rice paper if you have it. The cake is quite sticky on the bottom and rice paper will make it easier to remove from the tin. If you do not have rice paper, just use some more baking paper as a lining for the base instead.

The cake can be wrapped in parchment, then over wrapped in foil and stored for up to two months at room temperature. If you are making the panforte to give away as Christmas gifts, layer the cut wedges between parchment in gift boxes or bags. Don't forget to attach a label with storage instructions and an eat-by-date.





Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and add the whole hazelnuts and whole almonds. Place in the oven for 10–12 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool
Grease and line the sides of a 20cm/8 inch springform cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Line the base with rice paper or more baking paper
Place the apricots, mixed peel and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the figs and pulse briefly again
Place the runny honey and sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium flame and gently heat until dissolved
Bring to the boil, add the ground cloves, ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of the flour and stir to combine
Take the pan off the heat and add the whole hazelnuts and almonds, ground almonds and chopped fruit. Stir to combine, the mixture will be quite stiff
Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin and press down until it is level
Place the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 tablespoon of flour into a small bowl and stir to combine
Dust over the top of the panforte mixture and bake for 30–35 minutes until the cake has risen slightly
Brush off the excess flour and leave to cool completely in the tin. Dust with icing sugar, cut into small wedges and serve
First published in 2016
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