Festive Panforte

Christmas is a time for indulgence. This twist on a classic Italian panforte combines luxurious nuts, orange zest, chocolate and maple syrup for a slice of heaven.

Panforte has a moreish nougaty texture, somewhere between a rich slice of cake and the chewy confectionery. Many Italian bakeries keep their panforte recipe an absolute secret, with each bakery putting their own twist on the recipe.

Traditionally, panforte contains lots of mixed nuts and honey. To make my version suitable for vegans, I’ve substituted the honey for maple syrup, which also gives a smokey sweet background flavour. Use a large, sharp knife to cut through the cooked panforte; I find it easier to cut whilst it’s still hot, then leave to cool fully in the tin.

This is a recipe written for Suma (www.suma.coop) the specialist wholesaler.


Makes 1 batch, serves 10


100g Suma whole almonds

100g Suma pistachios, shelled

100g Suma pecans

100g Suma hazelnuts

30g glace cherries

80g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Zest of 1 unwaxed orange

150g caster sugar

150g maple syrup

50g dairy-free margarine

4 tbsp icing sugar, to dust


  1. Pre- heat the oven to 150C/ Gas mark 2 and line a shallow cake tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almonds, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and cherries. Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest.
  3. Heat the caster sugar, maple syrup and margarine over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and pour into the nut mix, stirring to combine fully.
  4. Press the heavy mix into the shallow cake tin- use your fingers to press down to ensure there are no gaps. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until set. Dust liberally with icing sugar before cutting into small slices.




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