Dear Cheftalk friends, After going through the freezer and cupboards , I ended up with some nuts and dried fruits that I wanted to use up. So after thinking things through I thought of making Panforte. Maybe some of you have made it before ? I know there is a big history behind the confection and that it is served in December but I am not one who believes in tradition. I think all dishes can and should be made anytime you feel like it. Today was a cold day with a lot of dampness. So I thought, why not ? ~~ The following recipe is a copy of David Lebovitz’s Panforte (chocolate) Panforte Makes About 16 servings Panforte is best served cut into thin wedges. You can use any kinds of nuts you like – I prefer a mix of hazelnuts and almonds. To skin hazelnuts, rub the still-warm toasted nuts in a tea towel, to get off as much of the skins as possible. You can use another candied fruit, whatever is available. 5 tablespoons (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process or natural) 2 1/2 cups (325g) nuts; any mix of walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, toasted and very coarsely chopped • 3/4 cup (110g) flour • • 1 cup (200g) chopped candied citron or another candied citrus • • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon • • 2 teaspoons ground ginger • • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper • • pinch of grated nutmeg • • 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder • • 3 ounces (85g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped • • 1 cup (200g) sugar • • 3/4 cup (210g) honey • • extra cocoa powder, for dusting the pan • • powdered sugar, for dusting the panforte 1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (162ºC.) 2. Line the bottom of a 9- to 10-inch (22-23cm) springform pan with parchment paper. Spray the pan with nonstick spray and dust the inside with cocoa powder, making sure to get it up the sides. 3. In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, nuts, flour, candied citrus, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg, and red chile powder. 4. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir it into the nut mixture. 5. In a pan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the sugar and honey until the temperature reads 240ºF (115ºC.) 6. Pour the hot honey syrup over the nut mixture and stir well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. I start by using a spatula and as the mixture cools, once it’s cool enough to touch, I use a dampened hand to get it flat. 7. Bake the panforte for 35 – 40 minutes; the center will feel soft, like just-baked custard; if you touch it, your finger will come away clean when it’s done. (Do not overcook it, or it will be too firm once cooled.) Let the panforte cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan. Remove the springform carefully (sticky edges might tear, so keep an eye out), then let cool completely. Once cool, remove the bottom of the springform pan and peel away the parchment paper. Sprinkle the panforte with powdered sugar and rub it in with your hands. Storage: Panforte can be kept for several months, well wrapped, at room temperature. So that being said, here are some pics of a Panforte in the making. 2 1/2 cups of assorted toasted nuts freshly ground peppercorns Chopped dried fruit. You can add zest of lemon or orange if you want. Use a springfom pan, outline parchement paper and then spray with pam. Sprinkle cocoa powder all over once it has been sprayed. If you like more chocolate like I do, go ahead and put 5 , it doesn't change anything. Toss in the spices Sift in the cocoa powder And other dry ingredients Once you have mixed the dry ingredients, add the melted chocolate. The honey I used today was purchased at a farm, I buy a yearly supply. Store bought is fine. Melt sugar and honey together till soft ball. This is the dry ingredients mixed with the chocolate Slowely drizzle in the hot sugar liquid and mix till everything is coated. Place a large tablespoon at a time and use two spoons as the mix is very sticky, one to place the mix on the parchment and the other to hold it down while removing other spoon. Work the outside edges first until you get to the middle. Once the mixture has been placed in the form, cut a piece of parchment paper and gently pat the mixture down till it is flat. Place in preheated oven at 325F for 35 minutes. Let cool on racks and then place on a cool surface. For my friends here, I know it has been along winter , but alas spring is in the air and so why not pretty up the confection for all here at Cheftalk ! So I went hunting in my stencils and found this for you. A good shake of icing sugar Remove stencil and Voila ! (I later covered entire cake with it ) For you ! How did it taste ? Not too sweet with undertones of chocolate . The pepper enhanced the spices and the texture mocked a fruitcake. In other words , heavenly. I hope you enjoyed this pictorial Petals.