It really does pain me to say this, but I suppose I must. This actually may be the single most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. In my life. I know that is a strong statement, but sadly, it's true. It has no redeeming qualities. Nothing about it is appealing whatsoever.
It is nearly impossible to cut into, as it is very hard and very sticky. The combination of spices is actually sickening, as strange flavor combinations can sometimes be. The presence of nuts, which I usually heartily welcome, only furthers the disgusting-ness of this candy. No wonder I had been avoiding this.
I love telling you about recipes that went well. There was nothing disastrous in the making of this "candy", but the end result was catastrophic. I know that it is a popular confection in Italian bakeries around the world, but this is one things the Italians definitely did not get right. Even my father, who cannot smell or taste, wouldn't touch it after the first bite. Yuck.
Adapted from Room for Dessert
5 tablespoons cocoa, plus 2 for dusting pan
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped candied citrus
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Pinch of chili pepper
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup honey
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Dust with 2 teaspoons cocoa. Chop chocolate and let it in a dry bowl set over simmering water. Stir together the hazelnuts, almonds, flour, 5 tablespoons cocoa, candied citrus, and spices. In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and honey and heat to 240 degrees. Stir melted chocolate into chopped nut mixture. Stir in honey syrup. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread batter evenly. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 30 minutes. While still warm, remove panforte from springform pan and cool completely. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar. Wrap tightly in plastic and store in a cool, dry place. Keeps for 1 year.
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