How to impress with homemade Italian treats

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A spicy fruit-and-nut-packed panforte is not only delicious, it makes a heartfelt homemade gift.


Serve thin wedges of this traditional Italian treat.

250g blanched almonds

250g hazelnuts

310g white sugar

310g honey

2 cups plain flour

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

750g dried fruit (try currants, raisins and mixed peel)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 x 25cm cake tins or a tin 28cm x 38cm x 2.5cm deep (or a little larger) with baking paper and set aside. Lay almonds and hazelnuts on a separate baking tray and toast in oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.

In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the sugar and honey together over a gentle heat. Allow to boil until it reaches 115°C on a sugar thermometer. Alternatively, test a drop of mixture in cold water: it should not disintegrate, but rather should be soft and hold its shape when picked up with fingers.

Meanwhile, sift the flour and spices into a bowl and add the toasted nuts and dried fruit. When syrup has reached temperature, pour into fruit-and-nut mixture and mix quickly and thoroughly together. Quickly tip into lined tins. Smooth mixture with a spatula and then pat mixture into tins using hands, which have been dipped in water, when cool enough to touch.

Bake in 160°C oven for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, liberally dust with icing sugar and store wrapped in an airtight container.

Sommelier Laiana Ryan

The rich nutty texture of panforte is the perfect match for Australian muscat.

All Saints Rutherglen Muscat N/V ($22)
As fourth-generation Brown family members, the All Saints team comes from an incredible pedigree of winemakers and has an impressive line-up of fortifieds. This muscat shines with raisins, rich treacle and incredible concentration.

Campbells Rutherglen Muscat N/V ($19)
A complex and elegant style with a mouth filling richness.

Pfeiffer Rutherglen Muscat N/V ($20)
A luscious wine with an explosion of Christmas pudding flavours and caramelised sugar.

This story How to impress with homemade Italian treats first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.