If you’ve tried every possible recipe for cranberry desserts and are looking for something new, you’ll love this one! Similar to an Italian panforte, a classic fruitcake-like confection loaded with nuts, dried fruit, and spices (the name means “strong bread”), this is a pleasant departure. It’s delicious with coffee, dessert wine, Champagne, or Prosecco.
Nouveau Cranberry Fruitcake
Makes about 16 servings
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups each whole almonds and hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup chopped Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons each chopped crystallized ginger and mixed peel
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and then grease paper. Combine 1 tablespoon flour and 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle in pan and shake to evenly distribute over bottom. Set aside.
2. Place 2/3 cup each almonds and hazelnuts in shallow baking pan. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes, or until toasted. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 300º F. Place remaining nuts in food processor and pulse 5 to 10 times, or until nuts are finely ground. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine remaining flour, cinnamon, and spice. Add Craisins, fruit, and peel. Mix until fruit is well coated with flour mixture. Stir in toasted and ground nuts. Mix well.
4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine granulated sugar and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook for about 1 minute, or until sugar is dissolved. Pour over fruit and nut mixture and mix well (the mixture will be very stiff). Spoon into the prepared pan, and working quickly with lightly moistened hands, press firmly and evenly into pan; smooth top.
5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown. (Cake will be soft, but becomes firm when cool.) Cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour. Loosen edge with small knife. Invert onto the wire rack, peel off parchment paper, and dust off any excess flour-cinnamon mixture. Invert again onto rack. Wrap in wax paper and store at room temperature in Ziploc bag. Before serving, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into small wedges.
Recipe and image courtesy of Ocean Spray Cranberry Growers.