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Chocolate-Hazelnut Panforte (Italian Fruitcake)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, divided*
  • 1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 1 cup whole unblanched almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed chopped dried Calimyrna figs
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup diced candied citron
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel (orange part only)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel (yellow part only)
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process), plus more for sprinkling tops
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, melted

Instructions

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Brush two 8-inch round cake pans with melted butter. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Brush parchment generously with butter. Reserve remaining butter.
  2. Place hazelnuts on small cookie sheet; place almonds on another small cookie sheet. Toast in oven until nuts are brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes for almonds and 14 minutes for hazelnuts. Cool.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  4. Gather hazelnuts in dish towel. Rub in rough towel to remove husks. Transfer hazelnuts and almonds to large bowl. Add figs, apricots, citron, orange peel and lemon peel.
  5. Combine flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, pepper and cloves in small bowl. Add to nuts and mix well.
  6. Combine sugar, honey and remaining melted butter in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture is smooth and sugar is mostly dissolved, about 5 minutes. Bring to boil. Continue cooking until candy thermometer registers 248 degrees F (firm-ball stage). Immediately pour over nut mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Divide batter between prepared pans, using back of a buttered spoon to spread evenly. Bake until top and edges just begin to brown and tops feel dry, about 1 1/4 hours.
  8. Cool slightly on wire rack. Run a small sharp knife around edges of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto work surface; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely.
  9. Arrange cakes top sides up on 8-inch cardboard rounds. Spread half the melted chocolate over each. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 1 hour.
  10. Sprinkle tops of cakes with cocoa powder. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
  11. The cakes can be prepared up to 1 month ahead. Store at cool room temperature.

Makes two 8-inch cakes, 64 servings.

* Use real butter or stick margarine. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads; their higher water content often yields less-satisfactory results.

Calories: 118 per 1/2-inch slice (6% from protein, 61% from carbohydrate, 33% from fat)

Protein: 1.9 grams; Total fat: 4.7 grams; Saturated fat: 1.3 grams; Cholesterol: 2 mg; Sodium: 4 mg; Carbohydrate: 19.8 grams; Fiber: 1.8 grams

Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 1 starch, 1 fat

Source: Bon Appetit Christmas

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