These are a real surprise, guaranteed to convert even the most ardent prune hater.

Ingredients

Makes 32 

  • 225g (8oz) best-quality dark chocolate 
  • 32 Agen prunes, stoned 

Medjool Sweetness
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. 

Makes 28 

  • 28 fresh Medjool dates 
  • 110g (4oz) almond paste 
  • Caster sugar 

Almond Paste:

  • 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 

Method

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Serve as a petit four. 

Medjool Sweetness

  1. 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.
  2. 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 

  1. Dip the top of the stuffed date in finely chopped unsalted pistachio nuts. Serve as above. 

Almond Paste:

  1. To make the almond paste, sieve the castor sugar and mix it with the ground almonds.
  2. 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).
  3. Sprinkle the worktop with icing sugar, turn out the almond paste and work lightly until smooth.