I know I’ve shown you pictures of the almond blossom before but I couldn’t resist showing you this one with the snow on the Sierra de las Nieves in the background. Sierra de las Nieves means The Snowy Mountains…..
This picture was taken in Guaro while we were checking on a friend’s house there. This is the view from the end of the drive. Spectacular isn’t it. You can see why it’s called Cortijo de las Nieves with that view….
These beautiful almond trees are everywhere you look at the moment. They reminded me of a recipe I found at Corridor Kitchen that I have been meaning to make since Christmas. Panforte is an Italian chocolate, fruit & nut cake served in little squares with espresso coffee at breakfast, in the afternoon or after dinner. It’s kind of like a dense nutty brownie fruit cake combination. Rich, sticky, chewy and delicious- it’s a grown up thing and you need to try it…
Lauren’s recipe included crystallised pineapple as her Aussie twist on the classic. In the absence of pineapple I used crystallised ginger which goes really well with the chocolate and orange zest and gives it more of that grown up feeling. If you don’t like ginger leave it out. The dried cranberries were another addition of mine just because I had some in the cupboard and they work with the other flavours….
makes about 12 -14 small squares/slices, vegetarian
- 125 gr almonds, roughly chopped
- 125 gr hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 60 gr stem ginger (crystallised or not) finely chopped
- 60 gr dried cranberries (soaked for 15 minutes in boiling water) roughly chopped
- 60 gr chopped mixed peel (I use the zest of 1 lemon & 1 orange)
- 100 gr plain flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder (good cocoa not hot chocolate powder)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (or mixed spice)
- 60 gr dark chocolate, chopped
- 75 gr sugar
- 175 gr honey
Preheat the oven to 160 C. Toast the almonds and hazelnuts in a dry pan if they are not toasted and coarsely chop. Sieve the flour, cinnamon and cocoa in to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in the nuts, fruit, zest and ginger and stir again.
Melt the honey and sugar over a medium low heat, when just about to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until thick and syrupy, Take it off the heat, leave for one minute then tip in the chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix everything together very well. It is a very stiff, sticky mass and quite hard on the arms but keep going it comes together eventually!
Line a 20cm cake tin or small baking tray with parchment paper, and cut another circle of parchment the same size as the tin. Tip the mixture into the tin, put the extra piece of parchment on top and press it down and spread it out until it is flat and even. Leave the parchment on the top and bake for about 35 minutes or until it has just lost its sheen.
Leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting into slices or squares with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container.
Feel free to substitute the cranberries for sultanas or use glace cherries instead. She recommends glace apricot as well as the glace pineapple. I think glace mango would be amazing with the chocolate too maybe with some macadamia nuts as well……….