Panforte My Way
Serves a bunch
1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup unskinned almonds
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons fennel seed, lightly crushed in a mortar or spice grinder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 pound dried figs, thinly sliced (about 1-1/2 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast hazelnuts and almonds (together, if you like) on a rimmed baking sheet until fragrant and lightly colored inside, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then chop very coarsely. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or an 8-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, fennel seed, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest. Add the nuts and figs and stir to coat.
In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and honey over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium and cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 245°F, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately pour over the nut mixture. Working quickly, stir until the dry ingredients are coated; the mixture will be stiff. Transfer to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a wooden spoon dipped in cold water. Bake 40 minutes. The mixture will still be tacky to the touch. Cool completely on a rack, then remove from the pan and remove the parchment paper. Slice into thin wedges to serve.
Makes one 8-inch panforte