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Category: Desserts


The holidays are the time of year when dessert finally takes on as much importance as the main course. Neighborhood gatherings, office parties and family get-togethers coax us into the spirit of the season with high-piled platters of sweet irresistibles. ... Read more

Total time: 2 1/2 hours | Makes 12 to 20 slices
Note: This chewy, intense confection makes the perfect gift. My favorite combination has a balance of pale, orange and dark-fleshed fruits. White figs and raisins make a good contrast to the darker fruits, such as prunes, raisins and apricots. Always use soft and supple fruit. Some gourmet markets sell roasted, peeled hazelnuts.
  • 1 1/4 cups whole unblanched almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups whole unblanched hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/4 pounds dried fruits, preferably organic: any combination of black currants, white and black raisins, black mission figs, white figs, sour cherries, plums, prunes, pears, peaches, nectarines, cranberries and apricots; mixture can also include candied ginger
  • 2/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
  • 1 cup sugar

Step 1Spread nuts on baking sheets in 2 piles and toast at 325 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Shake pans halfway through to ensure that nuts toast evenly. Allow to cool a few minutes. Gather hazelnuts into a kitchen towel and rub together to remove skins.

Step 2Combine nuts with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, flour and cocoa powder in large bowl.

Step 3Cut fruit into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with nut mixture.

Step 4Stir together honey and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil without stirring. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush sides of pan to remove any undissolved sugar granules. Cook until sugar reaches 224 to 240 degrees (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and pour into fruit mixture. Stir to combine as well as possible. Mixture will be very thick and sticky.

Step 5Place ring of 9-inch springform pan (without the bottom) on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Step 6Dip your hands in water and press fruit mixture evenly into springform pan. Bake at 300 degrees until top is slightly puffed, 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan. Store at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, several weeks.

Each of 20 slices:
257 calories; 2 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 45 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 2.23 grams fiber.
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