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Panforte

Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Yields Makes 12 to 20 slices
Panforte
1

Spread nuts on baking sheets in 2 piles and toast at 325 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Shake pans halfway through to ensure that nuts toast evenly. Allow to cool a few minutes. Gather hazelnuts into a kitchen towel and rub together to remove skins.

2

Combine nuts with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, flour and cocoa powder in large bowl.

3

Cut fruit into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with nut mixture.

4

Stir together honey and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil without stirring. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush sides of pan to remove any undissolved sugar granules. Cook until sugar reaches 224 to 240 degrees (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and pour into fruit mixture. Stir to combine as well as possible. Mixture will be very thick and sticky.

5

Place ring of 9-inch springform pan (without the bottom) on parchment-lined baking sheet.

6

Dip your hands in water and press fruit mixture evenly into springform pan. Bake at 300 degrees until top is slightly puffed, 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan. Store at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, several weeks.

This chewy, intense confection makes the perfect gift. My favorite combination has a balance of pale, orange and dark-fleshed fruits. White figs and raisins make a good contrast to the darker fruits, such as prunes, raisins and apricots. Always use soft and supple fruit. Some gourmet markets sell roasted, peeled hazelnuts.

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