Fig & Orange Panforte with Cointreau Zabaglione and a cooking class
First cooking class with Peasepudding!
A good friend of mine who cooks really well but says she doesn’t bake well, asked if I could help her make a Christmas cake this year (my Tropical Christmas Cake from a previous post) which was a great success and from that snowballed the idea of baking sessions each Saturday until Christmas, creating festive goodies that could be used as gifts or part of the many dinners or gathering that grow around the festive season. I knew I would be baking a lot pre Christmas and I thought it would be nice to be able to enjoy the experience with a friend too. But word got around and the sessions grew from one extra person to four additional people within a few days. My kitchen is quite compact so six would be the limit and everyone was keen to make the Panforte & Zabaglione we had already decided on.
It was a great way to spend Saturday morning and everyone went away happy bearing several mini Panforte each. I didn’t get any photos this week of the class with all the excitement of actually holding a class but we have classes booked now for the next 4 weeks so I will try and get some actions shots in future.
Below is the recipe for the Zabaglione and Panforte.
- 300g roasted almonds
- 350g figs, roughly chopped
- zest of one orange
- 100g flour (or ground almonds can be substituted for gluten free)
- 1 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
- ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp cardamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 100g honey
- 150g brown sugar
- 150g dark chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Prepare a 28cm x 18cm baking tin by lining it with greaseproof paper and also greasing the paper.
- Roast almonds in oven till golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, almonds and spices.
- In a pan over a low heat, melt the honey and sugar till dissolved and gently boil for 2 minutes.
- Add figs to the cooked honey and sugar and gently boil for a further 2 minutes.
- In a microwave or over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate pieces, being careful not to overcook them.
- Add honey and fig mixture, melted chocolate to the nuts and and flour mixture.
- Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon (working quickly, it is easier to do this while the mixture is still hot.
- With wet hand, press down to spread the mixture and make a smooth, flat surface.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Cool on a cake rack then cut into 3cm-wide pieces.
- Store in an airtight container. Panforte will keep for a few weeks stored this way.
I make my panforte into 7 individual round cakes by pressing the mixture into a round ring (Little fried egg rings or very large cookie cutters would work if you don’t have a professional mould). I then wrap them individually and give them as gifts.
Zabaglione – makes two
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp castor sugar
- 1 tblsp cointreau
- Place the egg yolks and sugar into a metal or glass bowl and beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and foamy. Beat in the cointreau.
- Set the mixture over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl and whisk constantly for about 4-5 minutes.
- Continue whisking until it forms a thick creamy foam that coats the back of the spoon. The eggs need to be cooked gently so the mixture stays smooth and doesn’t scramble!
- Serve immediately with sponge finger biscuits, panforte or biscotti.
Zabaglione may be served warm or cold. A cold one is beaten off the heat until cooled. Traditional zabaglione must be made just before serving. The warm froth can be served as a dessert by itself or as a sauce over cake, fruit, ice cream or pastry. They may also be used for sweet or savoury gratins.