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sour cherry panforte - 5 days of Christmas

Hi every-one and welcome to Day 4 of the 5 Days of Christmas. Last year I made candies for the 5 days of Christmas. Some items were a great success, like the Peppermint Bark, whilst others (white chocolate and rosemary nougat and pan pepato you know I’m talking about you) were a bit of a disaster. I recently remade the white chocolate nougat and it was much more successful the second time around.



I don't like to be defeated by a recipe so I decided to find another recipe and slightly adapted the Siena Cake recipe from the
Australian Women’s Weekly Italian cookbook


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I changed some of the fruits and added a pinch of black pepper to the mix and decided to bake the cakes in four 10 cm tins. I toasted the hazelnuts but forgot to lower the oven temperature when the time came to bake the cakes. Then I forgot to reduce the baking time so although the cake tastes delicious it's a little dry. Next time I’ll cook the mini panforte for about 20 minutes.

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For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Here's the adapted recipe for you -

Sour Cherry Panforte - makes one 8 inch (20 cm) cake

Ingredients
125g (4oz) blanched almonds
125g (4oz) roasted hazelnuts
60g (2oz) dried figs
60g (2oz) dried sour cherries
60g (2oz) candied orange peel
⅔ cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch black pepper
60g (2oz) dark chocolate
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup honey
icing sugar or cocoa

METHOD
Spread almonds on an oven tray, put into a moderate oven (180°C/350°F) for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly golden. Chop hazelnuts and almonds roughly, combine in a bowl with the chopped figs, the dried sour cherries, the chopped candied orange peel, the sifted flour, the sifted cocoa and cinnamon then mix well.

Cut a strip of greaseproof paper 8cm (3in) wider than depth of 20cm (8in) round cake tin and long enough to go around tin. Fold over 2.5cm (1 in) of paper strip on long side, cut this folded piece into 2.5cm (1 in) diagonal pieces to enable paper to fit around curve of tin. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit in base of tin, grease before placing paper in tin, press firmly on base over the cut paper.

Melt chocolate in top of double saucepan over simmering water. Put sugar and honey in separate saucepan, stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved, brushing down sides of saucepan with brush dipped in hot water to dissolve any sugar crystals. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered approximately 5 minutes or until syrup forms a soft ball when a few drops are dropped into a glass of cold water. Add syrup and melted chocolate to fruit and nut mixture, mix them well.

Spread mixture quickly and evenly into prepared tin. Bake in moderately slow oven (
170°C/325°F) for 35 minutes, remove from oven and cool in the tin. Turn out, remove paper then wrap the panforte in aluminium foil. Leave at least one day before cutting. Before serving, sift icing sugar or cocoa thickly over top.

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These would make lovely little Christmas gifts but I decided to be selfish and have kept all four for myself. I've already eaten one panforte and I have a few stored away for those moments when you need a piece of something sweet to go with a cup of tea. 



See you all again tomorrow with something special for the last of the 5 Days of Christmas.

Jillian
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