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For some of us, the lead up to Christmas wakes a desire to cook. In others, the desire to eat great foods is stronger. Whether you pull it out of your oven, or off the shelves, it’s the thought that counts!

For this second edition of MAKE IT or FAKE IT, I bring you Panforte. Once a delicacy reserved for the nobility, this dense and chewy spiced bread is traditional Italian Christmas treat containing glace fruit, nuts and spices.




  • 600 g blanched almonds
  • 400 g figs, roughly chopped*
  • 240g raisins*
  • 180g candied orange and lemon peel, chopped*
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp dutch cocoa powder*
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon*
  • 1 tsp ground coriander*
  • 1 tsp ground allspice*
  • 300g honey*
  • 250g sugar*
  • 300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped*
  • Rice paper for baking*

Preheat oven to 185°C. Prepare two 28cm x 18cm baking tins by greasing them, then lining the bottom with rice paper.

Roast almonds in oven till golden brown. In a large bowl, mix the figs, raisins, candied fruit, flour, cocoa and spices.

In a pot over medium heat, melt the honey and sugar together until frothy. Stir to dissolve.

In a microwave or over a pot of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate pieces, being careful not to overcook them.

Remove the hot roasted almonds from the oven and add to the mixed fruits and spices. Add the melted chocolate, then the honey. (It is easier to do all the mixing while ingredients are still hot.) Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon.

Spoon the panforte mixture evenly into the two baking tins. With wet hands, press down to spread the mixture and make a smooth, flat surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cook on a cake rack then cut into 3cm wide pieces.

Wrap with foil and store in an airtight container and cut into thin pieces when ready to serve. Panforte will keep for a few weeks if stored this way.


Kate Lane Panforte is handmade with Australian ingredients following the traditional Italian recipe. Serve it thinly sliced with a good dessert wine or strong coffee. For an even more decadent touch, we also stock a Panforte al cioccolato, a traditional spice cake with whole almonds and glace fruit covered in rich dark chocolate.

* These ingredients are available from The Essential Ingredient Newcastle.