The gift of Panforte to start the festive season…


I always find that Christmas is the one time of year where I take a little moment to reflect, especially this year.  I wonder is it because the nights have drawn in and the frost has time to settle or simply from the repeated exhaustion of the entire year. I’m sure many of you do the same in terms of having a moment to think. I simply reflect and in all honesty this year has been the year of reflection.

Christmas means comfort and sharing to me. I want to be surrounded by my family, lots of easy food, and belly laughs. With all our difficulties this year we must remain strong, focused, and thankful, even though I will be celebrating with my family, I will be missing my dear father Rocco at the head of our Christmas table. This year I am making lots of homemade gifts as they show love and thought while offering a little personal gift for that special somebody.

This panforte is an absolute champion of decadence, taste, bite, and cheer. What’s more is the panforte keeps incredibly well, wrap securely, tie with a ribbon, it makes for a wonderful and very caring edible gift. If there is one time in the year to show you care, it’s Christmas.



150g caster sugar

150g honey

35g butter

150g almonds, shelled

75g hazelnuts, shelled

75g pistachio, shelled

80g figs, roughly chopped

25g apricots, roughly chopped

80g candied orange peel

Splash of vin santo or any other available or preferred drink

75g 00 flour or plain flour

50g cocoa powder

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

Icing sugar, sprinkle


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C (fan).
  2. Gently heat the sugar, honey and butter in a small saucepan. Once melted leave to one side until required.
  3. Mix the nuts, fruit, peel and vin santo into a bowl, stir to incorporate fully.
  4. Add the flour, cocoa powder and spices into the bowl with the nuts. Stir well.
  5. Slowly add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine.
  6. Line a small baking tin with parchment.
  7. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and push down with the back of a spoon.


Bake for 35- 40 minutes. Allow to cool and slice. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Place in a container and seal, the panforte will keep for up to 2 weeks.



Other sweet gifts could also include a beautiful decorated crostata (jam tart) and of course circular Bundt cake that’s loved by all children and adults alike, the ciambella. Please see my website for further recipes and gift ideas.