How to make the perfect Italian panforte

Melanie Johnson teaches us to make this chewy, nutty, Italian classic.


  • 350g mixed nuts
  • 100g plain flour
  • (plus more for dusting)
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 2tspn ground cinnamon
  • 2tspn ground ginger
  • Half a teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 200g dried fruit, apricots, figs, prunes
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g honey
  • Icing sugar


Preheat your oven to 160˚C/320˚F/gas mark 4 and lightly grease a 25cm (10in) loose-bottomed cake tin. Add a circle of parchment paper to the base and set aside.

Process half of the nuts until coarsely ground and place them in a large bowl with the remaining whole nuts.

To the same bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, spices and chopped dried fruit. Mix well so everything is evenly distributed. Set aside.

Heat the caster sugar and honey in a saucepan until bubbling. Allow to caramelise for a few minutes and pour onto the nut mixture. Mix every-thing together and pour into the prepared tin, pressing down with the back of a spoon to form a smooth surface, then dust the top generously with flour to cover. Place in the preheated oven for 50 minutes to an hour.

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Remove the panforte from the oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool further. Use a pastry brush to brush off the flour, then generously sift over icing sugar in a thick layer. Slice into wedges and serve after dinner.