Pan Forte with Warm Pecorino
- For the Pan Forte:
- Rice paper
- 2 3/4 cups whole almonds, skin on and toasted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 pounds assorted dried fruit: raisins, figs, cherries, plums, apricots, and currants, cut up into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 slices pecorino, 1/4-inch thick
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as an accompaniment
In a small saucepan, combine the honey and sugar and bring it to a boil without stirring, brushing down the walls of the pan occasionally to avoid sugar crystals from forming. Cook to softball stage (240 degrees) then pour over the fruit mixture. Stir quickly to combine. It will be sticky and thick.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Dip your hands into water and grab a handful (about 1/4) of the mixture. Pack it into the rings and bake for 1 hour until slightly puffed up on top and the surface is no longer shiny. Remove from the oven and cool in the ring. Trim the rice paper to the edge of the mold and wrap in plastic to store at room temperature.
To serve, cut wedges and place them on plates. Heat up a flat top griddle or large frying pan and cook the slices of cheese on one side until lightly browned then flip them over to brown the other side. The center will get gooey. Place next to the pan forte, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with some good crusty Italian bread.
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