Honey pistachio panforte

From issue #2.
Photography by Photography by Becky Nunes.

Recipes for this ancient sweetmeat, Alaju, are found in Middle Eastern recipe books. These two adaptations require few ingredients and are simple and delicious. The method for both is exactly the same. For the chocolate one, stir the chocolate in at the same time as you add the orange flower water.


250g light floral honey, such as vipers blugloss
grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
150g shelled, unsalted pistachios, any flaky skin rubbed off
150g soft bread crumbs, made from 2 day old bread
1⁄2 teaspoon orange flower or geranium water
2 sheets edible rice paper


Combine the honey, orange, lemon zest and cinnamon (if applicable) in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and leave to cook gently for a couple of minutes. Add the nuts and ginger (if applicable) to the honey, along with the breadcrumbs. Stir continuously for about 3 minutes; the mixture will stiffen and come away from the side of the pan.

Off the heat add the orange flower water (it otherwise evaporates during cooking) and stir it in. Turn on to the rice paper and smooth out. Cover with another piece of rice paper, pressing down gently, and lightly roll with a rolling pin to smooth the top. Work around the edge with a table knife to neaten it.

When the panforte is cold, trim the rice paper to fit. Keep in an airtight tin, and cut into pieces to serve.
Makes approximately 18 portions. Edible Rice Paper is available from specialty stores.