Monday, April 15, 2024
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HomeVideoNigel Slater’s recipe for chocolate fruit and nut clusters

Nigel Slater’s recipe for chocolate fruit and nut clusters

There are nuts and dried fruits left from Christmas, dried figs and sticky dates, but also cubes of pistachio Turkish delight and candied orange. Jumbled together and dipped into dark chocolate, they make rather moreish sweetmeats to eat with coffee. Pieces of soft, moist Christmas cake among the fruit and nuts lends a delightful hotchpotch of textures.

Break 200g of dark chocolate into small pieces and put them in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl in the top of a saucepan half filled with water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water beneath, then leave over a moderate heat until the chocolate has melted.

Take 150g of mixed dried prunes, figs, dates or apricots, then chop into small pieces roughly the size of a hazelnut in its shell or slightly larger. Put them in a mixing bowl and scatter in a good 75g of sultanas or candied orange and lemon, diced into small pieces.

In a shallow pan, toast 75g (a handful) of skinned hazelnuts or almonds until they are pale gold and fragrant, then stir them into the fruit. Crumble in a handful of leftover Christmas cake if you have it, separating it from the icing as you go. Pour the melted chocolate into the fruit and nuts and mix with a spoon until everything is covered with chocolate.

Place a sheet of baking parchment on a baking sheet, then drop 12 generous tbsp of the mixture on to the paper, forming plump little clusters, scatter over a few chopped pistachios or candied peel, or both, then leave in a cool place to set. Peel them from the paper and store in an airtight container. Makes 12

What makes these interesting is a balance of texture, so try to include soft, dried fruits, such as apricots and sultanas, with something chewy, like figs or Turkish delight, then an element of crunchiness from hazelnuts or almonds.

Use up Christmas cake and pieces of marzipan here as well as pistachios and walnuts. The soft, fudgy quality is a good contrast to the nuts.

Something tart, such as dried apricots or dried cherries, is to be highly recommended when coated in dark, slightly bitter chocolate –though nothing over 70% cocoa butter.

Follow Nigel on Instagram @NigelSlater

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