This Sienese fruit cake recipe was adapted from Carol Field's The Italian Baker
1 c. each lightly toasted hazelnuts and toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped, candied orange peel, coarsely chopped, and candied lemon peel, finely chopped
2 oz coarsely chopped dried figs
1 t. grated lemon zest
1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. each ground coriander, ground cloves and freshly-grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground white pepper
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. honey
2 T. unsalted butter
Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan, parchment paper, candy thermometer, waxed paper.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Mix together the nuts, orange and lemon peel, figs, lemon zest, flour, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Butter the springform pan; line the bottom and sides with parchment paper and then butter the paper.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the granulated sugar, honey, and butter over low heat, stirring constantly until the syrup registers between 242°F to 248°F on a candy thermometer. To verify you're at the right temperature, drop a little of the syrup into a bowl of cold water – the mixture will form a ball when it hits the water. Immediately pour syrup into the bowl with the nut mixture and stir quickly until well blended. Pour immediately into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. The batter will become stiff and sticky quickly, so work fast.
Bake the panforte for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. The cake won't darken or seem very firm when ready but will harden as it cools. Cool the panforte on a cake rack until the cake is firm to the touch. Remove the sides of the pan and invert cake onto the wax paper. Peel off the parchment paper. Dust the top heavily with icing sugar. Serves 16.