Years ago, before blogging was a bloodsport, there was a little group of us from all over the world who entertained each other endlessly – me, Bec, Mary, Duyvken, Blackbird, Badger, Fish, Eleanor and more!
And then there was Joke. The impeccably well dressed, yes, even on the interweb, erudite Joke. The man who voluntarily lives where its 100+% humidity everyday and does things like caters a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner for about 1,000 people all by himself* in his backyard.
He gave me this recipe. It is fantastic. It can take many forms depending on the dried fruit and nuts you add. When I first made them the boys rejected them and I ate the whole batch. Hashtag proud.
When I made them this week I just had sultanas and dates in the cupboard so that was all that went it. They are still delicious. This time I’m onto making my third batch in two days because the boys like them now**.
I am indebted to my mate Joe for sharing his recipe for pecan pie that uses maple syrup rather than the devil’s work, corn syrup. And this. This recipe changed my life. No really. My life is better knowing this recipe exists and these biscuits can be made. In my weekly radio spot on ABC Mid North Coast this morning I shared the love so here it is for you too. You know what you have to do. Get that oven on.
So I made this yesterday for our Christmas gathering with my Dad, step-mother and family. I was down for dessert and along with pavlova topped with cream, lemon butter and fresh fruit I was bringing our family’s traditional Christmas pudding cooked in cloth. Then the last fortnight came and firmly bit me on the arse. I only got the fruit soaking a few days ago for the pudding so getting one made and on the stove for five hours was just not going to happen.
I’d seen this recipe in Maggie Beer’s Maggie’s Table and knew it would be good some time ago – it came to me that it would make a fine Christmas pudding alternative and boy, was I bang on the money on that front.
This cake is seriously good. I only had a tiny sliver yesterday due to the dedicated food consumption that had gone before it and man, today all I can think about is making it again so I can sit in front of it like a fat fool and eat it until my head falls off.
I should say, I did not roast the almonds and then grind them, I simply used some store-bought almond meal. I am sure doing that step would take the cake to even greater heights but it was delicious even without doing so.
So go on, make it .
Chocolate Cake with Whisky-soaked Raisins and Orange Zest Maggie Beer, Maggie’s Table
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup Scotch whisky
160g blanched almonds
50g plain flour
375g dark couverture chocolate (70% cocoa)
finely grated zest of 1 orange
210g unsalted butter
170g caster sugar
pinch of salt
175ml pouring cream
250g couverture chocolate
Soak raisins in whisky for a few hours
Preheat fan-forced oven to 180C
Place almonds on baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly then process in a food processor until finely ground. Add flour and set aside
Melt chocolate and the add the zest to it
Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then add eggs one at a time. The mixture will split but don’t worry, it comes back together when the almonds and flour are added
Fold in the melted chocolate then the soaked raisins and any of the whisky juices that are left in the bowl
Sprinkle over the almond and flour mixture and fold through very gently, being careful not to overmix
Lightly grease and line a 20cm springform round cake tin
Bake for an hour or until skewer comes out clean (mine took at least another 10 minutes and probably could have done with another 5 or 10 minutes)
Remove from the oven and sit on a wire rack in its tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and let cake cool completely.
Make the ganache by bringing the cream to the boil and then pouring over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes to melt and then stir thoroughly
Pour over the cooled cake and then leave to cool for a further hour (not in the refrigerator) before serving