These are a real surprise, guaranteed to convert even the most ardent prune hater.
- 225g (8oz) best-quality dark chocolate
- 32 Agen prunes, stoned
Another sought-after present at a Christmas fair and a great way to use up your scraps of almond paste. Serve as a petit four or as part of a selection of homemade sweets.
- 28 fresh Medjool dates
- 110g (4oz) almond paste
- Caster sugar
- 450g (1lb) golden caster sugar
- 450g (1lb) ground almonds
- 2 small eggs, preferably free-range and organic
- 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
- A drop of pure almond extract (be careful, it's very intense)
- Icing sugar, for dusting the worktop
- Melt the chocolate gently in a Pyrex bowl over set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (the base of the bowl should not touch the water). Turn off the heat just as soon as the water comes to the boil - the chocolate will gradually melt in the hot bowl.
- Dip the prunes one at a time into the chocolate. Shake off the excess chocolate and allow to set on a baking tray covered with silicone paper.
- Serve as a petit four.
- Split one side of the date and remove the stone. Roll a little piece of almond paste into an oblong shape so that it will fit neatly into the opening.
- Smooth the top and roll the stuffed date in caster sugar. Repeat until all the dates and almond paste are used up.
Medjool Dates with Pistachio and Marzipan
- Dip the top of the stuffed date in finely chopped unsalted pistachio nuts. Serve as above.
- To make the almond paste, sieve the castor sugar and mix it with the ground almonds.
- Beat the eggs, add the whiskey and 1 drop of pure almond extract, then add to the sugar and almonds and mix to a stiff paste (you may not need all of the egg).
- Sprinkle the worktop with icing sugar, turn out the almond paste and work lightly until smooth.