smoked almond and cherry panforte

  • 1 x A4 sheet confectionery rice paper+, trimmed, for lining
  • 2½ cups (400g) dried cherries++
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) bourbon
  • ¾ cup (110g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • ⅓ cup (35g) Dutch cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1½ cups (235g) smoked almonds, roughly chopped 
  • 120g dark chocolate, melted
  • ¾ cup (90g) honey
  • 1 cup (220g) white (granulated) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC (325ºF). Lightly grease the base and sides of a 20cm round springform cake tin. Line the base with non-stick baking paper, top with the trimmed rice paper and set aside. Place the cherries and bourbon in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir frequently for 4–5 minutes or until the fruit is plump. Set aside to cool slightly. 
  2. Place the flour, cocoa, mixed spice, almonds, chocolate and the cherry mixture in a large bowl and stir until just combined (mixture won’t come together at this stage). 
  3. Place the honey, sugar and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until combined. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes or until the temperature reaches 118°C (244°F) on a sugar thermometer. Add the honey mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press to even the top. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until the panforte is set on the sides and slightly soft in the centre. Cool in the tin for 5 hours or overnight. Run a small knife around the edges before removing from the tin. Cut with a sharp knife to serve. Serves 12.

+ You can find confectionery rice paper in the Asian or baking aisle of the supermarket or from Asian grocers.

++ You can use dried cranberries if you prefer.

TIP: Keep the panforte wrapped in plastic wrap in a cool, dark place for up to 2 weeks or refrigerated for up to a month. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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