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Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

Chocolate Chestnut Cake

The season is almost over but finally I managed to bag some fresh chestnuts this weekend at Avondale market. I know most people tend to forage for chestnuts but out at Muriwai we don’t have many Chestnut trees, perhaps they don’t like the sea air?

I have many strong memories of street vendors in the UK and Germany roasting chestnuts and the nutty smell wafting along the high street while out shopping. Holding a bag of hot chestnuts  was a welcome relief from the cold winter day if you had forgotten your gloves.  Not something I have to worry about now in New Zealand, I no longer own a pair of gloves except for snow boarding gloves taht I might use once a year. Funny how things change, gloves in the Europe are one of those essential winter accessories that you matched to your outfit like a pair of shoes!

I have a lot more chestnuts left after making this cake and have seen a great soup recipe over at Nourish Magazine which I hope to make this weekend.

Ingredients

  • 225g 70% bitter chocolate
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 5 free-range eggs, separated
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour or ground almonds
  • 150g fresh peeled and roasted chestnuts
  • 100ml dark rum
  • 50g 70% cacao chocolate, chopped
  • 50ml single cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a 28cm x 18cm rectangular cake or tart tin with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan bring the rum and fresh peeled and roasted chestnuts to the simmer; remove from the heat and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
  3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
  4. Whilst the chocolate is melting separate the eggs, whisk the whites until fluffy and then gradually add the sugar, continuing to whisk until it reaches a soft peak meringue.
  5. Stir the soaked chestnuts, rum and egg yolks into the melted chocolate. Fold in the flour or ground almonds
  6. Fold in the whipped egg whites.
  7. Spoon the cake mixture into the lined tin . Bake the cake for 15 -20 minutes in the pre-heated oven.
  8. Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  9. Heat the cream then add the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth then pour over the cooled cake and smooth across the top of the cake.

Chocolate, Cinnamon & Plum Ice Cream

This is what I call cheats ice cream! We had an impromptu dinner last night at our place with friends and fortunately the pantry and fridge where full since I had planned on trying out a few new dishes over the long weekend. But dessert hadn’t factored into that planning as I have been trying to indulge less in that area.

We created Japanese Takoyaki with another cool gadget I have, a post I hope to share with you next time I make them and a fennel, cucumber & seafood salad which I will also post soon. But dinner is not the same for me if it doesn’t end on a sweet note. I had a few cups of stewed cinnamon plums in the freezer and some custard and cream in the fridge so we decided to whip up a quick ice cream. I just love my ice cream maker, you can produce a dessert in minutes, particularly since this one was cheating by using ready make custard rather than making a creme Anglais. We just would have had the time for it to chill down and there is nothing wrong with a few short cuts is there? I also added a generous helping of shaved Whittakers Dark Ghana chocolate to the mix.

I loved this impromptu dessert, the tart plum against the creamy custard with a rich bitter bite of chocolate. My guest loved it too but I told them we couldn’t eat it all since I would have to photograph it the next day so lucky for me I still have some left in the freezer!

For those of you who are local I bought the gorgeous little bowls and linen from a the Ambience Home & Gift store in Huapai.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of stewed plums, chilled & stones removed
  • 2 tbs sugar if you haven’t already added any to the plums
  • 1 cup cream, whipped to soft peak
  • 2 cups custard
  • 100g min 70% cocoa chocolate, shaved. I used Whittakers Dark Ghana

    Method

  • Mix together the custard, sugar and stewed plums.
  • Fold in the whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
  • Follow manufacturers instruction for you ice cream makes.
  • Easy as that!
  • Black Forest Trifle

    For those who love chocolate, a Black Forest trifle is a great alternative to the traditional with it’s chocolate custard and chocolate sponge. Trifle is quite traditional in the UK and NZ for a Christmas dessert but I wanted to jazz it up a bit for our Christmas lunch. No need to save this recipe though for next year, it’s perfect for a family Sunday lunch or if you are taking a dessert along for a pot luck dinner. Do you have pot luck dinners or bring a plate where you live? I wasn’t really familiar with it before I came to NZ but really love the concept of everyone contributing to a dinner gathering rather than the one person doing all the work. Maybe it is because here at the beach we get together most weekends with friends and it’s not such a big chore if everyone brings something along.

    Ingredients

    • 400g chocolate sponge (or use 1/2 of my recipe for black Doris plum mousse cake)
    • 400g jar or tin of cherries
    • 3 tbsp vodka or kirsch (optional)
    • 50g 70% chocolate
    • 1/2 litre of Custard
    • 300ml whipping cream

    Method

    1. Cut the sponge into squares and place into a glass serving bowl.
    2. Strain the liquid off the cherries, reserve half and add the vodka/kirsch to the liquid.
    3. Distribute the cherries over the chocolate sponge in the bowl then drizzle the liquid over the top, ensuring all of the sponge is soaked.
    4. Melt the chocolate and warm the custard.
    5. Stir the chocolate into the custard until all combined. If it starts to set before combined just warm it up again.
    6. Pour the chocolate custard over the cherries and sponge.
    7. Once the custard is cold, whip the cream to soft peak and pour over the chocolate custard.
    8. Grate some chocolate over the top for decoration and chill in the fridge till ready to serve.
    9. Holds for 2 days.

    Chocolate Ginger Tarts

    choctartbg

    With the countdown of one week to go before our trip back home we have had many invites to catch up with family and friends who can’t be with us on our wedding day in the UK. In fact I have made so many desserts over the past week that I can’t keep up with posting them on my Blog! This dessert came about because I had chocolate almond pastry left from the girls book club demo last week  and I also had ginger custard left from another dessert I haven’t yet posted! Never one to let things go to waste it can often result in new recipes I may of not thought of if it wasn’t for these left overs. Therefore the tart is made in the style of a ganache filling but instead of using cream and chocolate I have use the custard and chocolate which gave the recipe a richer silky texture. 

    Ingredients – pastry

    • 110g Butter
    • 180g flour
    • 60g icing sugar
    • 60g Ground almonds
    • 1 tbsp cocoa
    • 1 egg

    Method – pastry

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
    2. Grease and flour a loose bottom flan tin (10 inch) or 8 small tart tins.
    3. Place the flour, butter, sugar, cocoa and ground almonds in a bowl.
    4. Work the ingredients together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
    5. Add the egg and bring dough together.
    6. Rest dough in fridge for an hour before rolling out.
    7. Roll out pastry to fit bottom & sides of tin.
    8. Place a piece of greaseproof paper over the bottom and sides of the pastry shell and fill the case with dry beans, rice or lentils. 
    9. Place the tart shell in the over with the dried beans and bake ‘blind the shell for 15 minutes. 
    10. Remove from the oven and remove the greaseproof paper and beans and return the pastry to the oven.
    11. Bake for a further 10 minutes.
    12. The first baking with the beans is to prevent the pastry side slipping down with no filling in the case. The second baking is to crisp the shell.
    13. Allow to cool.

    Ingredients – custard ganache

    • 200g chocolate, chopped  
    • 400ml milk
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 tblsp sugar 
    • 8 pieces of crystalised ginger, finely chopped

    Method – ganache

    1. Whisk together milk, sugar and egg yolks until completely combined.
    2. Pour into a pan and cook over a low heat stirring constantly so that the custard doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
    3. As soon as the custard starts to thicken remove from the heat and keep stirring for another 2 minutes.
    4. Transfer the hot custard into a bowl.
    5. Add the chopped chocolate to the custard and stir until all the chocolate has melted.
    6. Add the finely chopped ginger and stir through the chocolate custard. 
    7. Pour custard into the prepared cooled tart shells and allow to set before serving.

    Pistachio Chestnut Chocolate Opera Style Cake

    operablog

    After a week away working in Sydney I was suffering from withdrawals from my kitchen. As much as love Sydney’s restaurants I miss getting ‘stuck in’ myself and was glad to be back. Although P had ensured me that he had done the shopping and had a line up of Jamie Oliver dishes he was going to cook for me this week I knew there wouldn’t be any fruit and limited veg on his list so decided to drop into the local store on my way back from the airport. 

    There are so many autumn fruits at the moment, figs, guavas, feijoas, persimmons and chestnuts it was hard to decide what I wanted to use in my baking. I can’t resist all the lovely colours, textures and variety of the new season fruits so a I came home with everything so I could take my time deciding. I bake as much as I can at the weekends since I work full time and now that I am blogging I also have to think about whether there is enough light  to take photos….sad indeed. Although I have been browsing through the food photography lighting section to see what set up I can buy get me through winter!

    I have been wanting to make an Opera Cake for a while and I thought the a chestnut puree would go well in one of the layers. I have called mine an Opera style cake since it doesn’t use the syrup to soak the sponge in (I thought it was moist enough) and isn’t the classic flavours of an Opera Cake but the pistachio sponge and chestnut butter cream went together really well. It seems like a long recipe but each stage is quite easy and you could make the butter cream a day ahead. I used the recipe from a previous Daring Bakers challenge last year. 

    Ingredients for Joconde (sponge)

    • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
    • 2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar
    •  1 cup (110 grams) ground blanched almonds
    • 1 cup (110 grams) ground pistachios (shelled)
    • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
    • 6 large eggs
    • ½ cup (70 grams) plain flour
    • 3 tbsp. (45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

    Method – Joconde

    1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade
    2. Line three quarter sheetpans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. 
    4. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. 
    5. In another bowl beat the almonds, pistachios, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes. Cooks note: I didn’t think the colour would be green enough at this stage so I added 2 drops of food colouring!
    6. Add the flour and fold into the mixture, do not over mix.
    7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. 
    8. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
    9. Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. Approximately 10 minutes, no longer. could be less depending on your oven. 
    10. Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. 
    11. Cover each with a sheet of wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold. 
    12. Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

    Ingredients Chestnut Buttercream

    • 100g egg whites
    • 200g sugar
    • 300g unsalted butter at room temperature
    • 200g fresh chestnuts
    • 1 cup milk

     Method – Chestnut Butter Cream

    1. Half fill a pan of boiling water to soften the chestnut shells.
    2. Score chestnut shells to release steam and place in boiling water for 10 minutes.
    3. Remove from pan and allow to cool. As soon as they are cool enough to handle remove the shells and as much of the furry brown skin. The removal of the skin is really only to produce a pale butter cream so optional. 
    4. Put milk and de-shelled chestnut into a pan and cook over a gentle heat for 15 minutes.
    5. Blend chestnuts until smooth and put aside.
    6. Combine the sugar, water in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. 
    7. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240◦F on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
    8. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg whites at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk until soft peaks form.
    9. When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
    10. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the egg whites are thick and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
    11. While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass. 
    12. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. 
    13. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny. At this point add the blended chestnuts and beat for an additional minute or so.

    Ingredients – Dark Chocolate Ganache

    • 150g dark chocolate, chopped 
    • 150ml whipping cream

    Method – Dark Chocolate Ganache

    1. Heat cream in a pan till almost boiling.
    2. Place chopped chocolate into a bowl and pour over hot cream and sit for a few minutes.
    3. Stir until all chocolate has melted and keep warm over a pan of hot water until ready to assemble cake. 

    Assembling the Opéra Cake

    1. Place one square of jonconde sponge on a baking sheet. 
    2. Spread about one-third of the buttercream over this layer and refrigerate until it hardens. 
    3. Remove from the fridge and spread a third of the chocolate ganache on top.
    4. Top with joconde. 
    5. Spread another third of the buttercream on the cake, refrigerate and spread another layer of chocolate ganache on top.
    6. Top with the third square joconde. 
    7. Spread the remaining buttercream on top of the final layer of joconde and then refrigerate and finish with the last layer of ganache. 
    8. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

    Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake

    choc-mousse

    Well what can I say, my favourite things all in one cake, chocolate orange, chocolate sponge and chocolate mousse! Some might think I made this for myself but actually I made it for Anna my sister inlaw’s birthday and of course when she couldn’t eat it all herself I helped!

    It’s very rich but hey you don’t have to have a big piece, you can share it around if you are the generous type. I managed to keep a double piece in the fridge after everyone had gone to indulge a second time… sorry Anna, I know it was your birthday! 

    It’s an easy basic sponge mix with a French style mousse filling. You can easily make it the day before serving as it will hold well in the fridge for a day or two covered.

    Ingredients for chocolate sponge

    • 125g butter
    • 125 sugar
    • 125 SR flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees centigrade.
    2. Line an 8 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.
    3. Place butter & sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk or good old fashioned wooded spoon until light and fluffy.
    4. Add one egg at a time and whisk in between both additions.
    5. Sift in flour and cocoa into butter mixture and fold in with a metal spoon.
    6. Add milk and fold together ingredients.
    7. Spread sponge in cake tin and bake in oven for 20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out of the sponge clean.
    8. Once cooled remove from the tin and slice through the centre so you have one half for the bottom of the cake and the other half for the top.

    Ingredients for Chocolate Mousse

    • 150g dark chocolate (70%)
    •  5 eggs separated
    • 25g softened butter
    • 65g castor sugar
    • zest of one orange

    Method for Mousse

    1. Before making the mousse, line the cake tin you used for baking the sponge with cling film, enough to come up over the sides of the tin all round.
    2. Put one half of the cake in the bottom of the tin on top of the cling film and leave the other half for the top. Now prepare the mousse
    3. Whisk egg whites until fluffy.
    4. Add one spoon of sugar at a time to egg whites and whisk each time to form a stiff meringue consistency.
    5. Beat meringue mix until it is thick and elastic. 
    6. Add egg yolks to meringue and mix.
    7. Melt the chocolate gradually in the microwave or over a double boiler (chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water).
    8. Beat softened (not melted) butter into the melted chocolate.
    9. Fold gently half of the meringue mixture into the chocolate with a metal spoon or spatular.  
    10. Add the orange zest to the mixture.
    11. Fold in the remaining meringue into the chocolate mix.
    12. Pour the mousse on top of the sponge in the tin and then place the second half of sponge on top of the mousse. 
    13. Bring the cling film up and cover the top of the sponge to prevent it from drying in the fridge. 
    14. Leave cake to set in fridge for a few hours. 
    15. Pull on the cling film to remove cake easily from the tin, dust with cocoa powder and garnish with orange rind or slices. 

    Chocolate Lavender Truffles

    pict00222The first time I tried lavender truffles was a few years ago when I was given a box of them as a gift, they came from a boutique chocolate shop in the North Island of New Zealand. I believe Schoc Cholcolate in Wellington also produce a lavender chocolate tablet/bar. Since then I have often thought of recreating them myself since they were so unusual and very delicious and a basic truffle mix is very easy to create. With a little experimenting infusing fresh lavender this is the recipe I have created. I would only recommend using the fine stalked English lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) from your garden, other lavenders can be too pungent in flavour which will be over powering in taste.

    Ingredients

    • 200 ml whipping cream
    • 300g bitter chocolate (70% cocoa)
    • 4 lavender heads in bloom 
    • Additional chocolate to coat truffles or cocoa powder

    Method

    1. Finely chop the chocolate into small pieces, this will help it melt when combining with the cream later on.
    2. Remove the petal from the buds and put aside (see picture for lavender shortbread).
    3. Place cream and lavender heads without the petals in a pan and heat to almost a simmer. The petals get used later.
    4. Remove from the heat and swirl the lavender around in the pan and leave for several minutes. 
    5. Taste the cream for flavour, you should be able to taste a light lavender flavour only.
    6. Remove the lavender heads and and squeeze lightly to extract more lavender essence.
    7. Add the finely chopped chocolate to the cream and stir till melted, this forms a ganache. 
    8. Add the lavender petals to the ganache. 
    9. Place the ganache in the fridge and allow it to set but not too hard.
    10. Form truffles with two spoons by scooping up a spoon of the mixture and taking it off that spoon with the second spoon. This will form and oval shape. It really doesn’t matter what shape you do, just don’t use your hands as they will be too warm to handle the truffles and you will end up with a chocolate mess!

    You can dip the truffles in melted bitter chocolate, or role them in cocoa powder. The picture above shows the truffles in dipped chocolate and dusted with cocoa. The dipped chocolate where more popular hence only two in the photo, you have to be quick with the camera in our house…things don’t last very long!

    Chocolate Cherry Ice cream

    pict0010The weather has been glorious this Christmas (the first in several years) so what better than a home made ice cream to cool down with.

    This recipe requires an ice cream maker and gives instructions on how to make ice cream from scratch, or if you have a lot of custard left over from Christmas, like we did, there is also a quick version using pre made custard. I also had some marinated cherries left over from our christmas day dessert, chocolate cherry roulade, hence the creation of this ice cream. 

    Ingredients

    • 2 cup of cream
    • 1 cup of milk
    • 150g 70% cocoa chocolate
    • 100g sugar
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 100g cherries, stoned and quartered
    • 4 tablespoons of cherry brandy or cherry liqueur 

    Method

    1. Marinade cherries for a few hours or overnight in liqueur.  
    2. Place milk, cream & chocolate in a pan over a  very low heat until the chocolate melts.
    3. Once melted increase the heat almost to a simmer.
    4. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl till combined. 
    5. Whisk hot chocolate mix into yolk mixture. 
    6. Return to a clean saucepan over a very low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent mixture from ‘catching’ on base of pan.
    7. Cook gently until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. 
    8. Transfer to a bowl and allow to chill in fridge completely before before putting to ice cream maker. 
    9. Stir cherries and liqueur into chocolate custard mixture. 
    10. Put mixture into prepared ice cream maker as per instructions for that appliance.   

    Using pre-made custard

    • 3 cups of custard
    • 150g 70% cocoa chocolate
    • 100g cherries, stoned and chopped
    • 4 tablespoons of cherry brandy or cherry liqueur 
    1. Melt chocolate gently in microwave
    2. Warm custard so that it combines easily with chocolate
    3. Whisk custard and chocolate together. If the chocolate sets before it is all combined forming lumps or ‘grit’, warm mixture for a further 20 seconds in microwave and whisk again.
    4. Add cherries and liqueur to the custard mixture.
    5. Put mixture into prepared ice cream maker as per instructions for that appliance. 

    Chocolate Mousse Roulade

    pict0033

    This recipe is based on the traditional Christmas chocolate log, but don’t save it just for Christmas, it can be served any time of year!

    The chocolate mousse gives it a lighter and more refined texture as well as a more luxurious and decadent one! It is easy to prepare and can be made the day before to save time. 

    Ingredients – Sponge

    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 80g plain flour
    • 25g cocoa powder
    • 100g castor sugar

    Ingredients – Mousse

    • 150g dark chocolate (70%)
    •  5 eggs separated
    • 25g softened butter
    • 65g castor sugar
    • fresh cherries stoned and quartered
    • 4 tblsp cherry brandy or cherry snaps

    Marinate cherries and liquor for several hours or overnight.

    Method – sponge

    1. Preheat over to 200 degrees centigrade/gas mark 6.
    2. Line baking tray with greaseproof paper (30×40)
    3.  Whisk egg whites until fluffy.
    4. Add one spoon of sugar at a time to egg whites and whisk each time to form a stiff meringue consistency. It is important to add sugar gradually to prevent mixture from liquifying. 
    5. Mix in egg yolks.
    6. Sift cocoa and flour and fold gently with a metal spoon into egg mixture, keeping as much air as possible in mixture.
    7. spoon into prepared baking tray.
    8. Bake for 12 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Do not over bake as sponge will become hard and you will not be able to roll it.
    9. Allow to cool before assembling.

    Method for Mousse

    1. Whisk egg whites until fluffy.
    2. Add one spoon of sugar at a time to egg whites and whisk each time to form a stiff meringue consistency.
    3. Beat meringue mix until it is thick and elastic. 
    4. Add egg yolks to meringue and fold gently through so the meringue stays light and fluffy.
    5. Melt the chocolate gradually in the microwave or over a double boiler (chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water).
    6. Beat softened (not melted) butter into the melted chocolate.
    7. Fold gently half of the meringue mixture into the chocolate with a metal spoon or spatular.  
    8. Fold in the remaining meringue.
    9. Spread mousse over cooled sponge and then a layer marinated cherries on top of mousse and roll it up like a Swiss roll. Remove greaseproof gradually as you roll the sponge. 
    10. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

    This dessert can be made the day previously to save time, store in fridge prior to serving.

    Fig Panforte

    Panforte – Siena Cake 

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    Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts, believed to date back to 13th century Siena, Italy’s Tuscany region. Documents from 1205 show that Panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax or tithe which was due on the seventh of February that year. Literally,  (Wikipedia

    Traditionally a small wedge is served with coffee or a dessert wine after a meal.

    I have adapted a traditional recipe to contain mainly figs(because I love them and it works really well) but each region and household  in Italy seem to have their own version.

    I hope my Italian friends approve of the recipe too!

    This recipe is for my Mum who didn’t want to spend time baking the traditional English Christmas cake this year. I convinced her that this Italian Christmas cake is very quick and easy to make so she said she would make it if I posted it! Here you go Mum

    Ingredients

    • 300g blanched almonds
    • 350g figs, roughly chopped
    • 50g candied lemon
    • 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
    • 200g honey
    • 50g brown sugar
    • 150g dark chocolate, chopped

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180C. 
    2. Prepare a 28cm x 18cm baking tin by lining it with greaseproof paper and also greasing the paper. 
    3. Roast almonds in oven till golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
    4. In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, almonds and spices.
    5. In a pan over a low heat, melt the honey and sugar till dissolved and gently boil for 2 minutes.
    6. Add figs to the cooked honey and sugar and gently boil for a further 2 minutes. 
    7. In a microwave or over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate pieces, being careful not to overcook them.
    8. Add honey and fig mixture, melted chocolate to the nuts and and flour mixture.
    9. Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon (working quickly, it is easier to do this while the mixture is still hot.
    10. With wet hand, press down to spread the mixture and make a smooth, flat surface.
    11. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
    12. Cool on a cake rack then cut into 3cm-wide pieces.
    13. 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.

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