Try this luxuriantly rich alternative to Christmas pud, heavy with buttery nuts, prunes and dark chocolate
Tamal Ray’s alternative Christmas pud recipe
Rachel Roddy’s chocolate, chestnut, almond and prune cake.
Rachel Roddy’s chocolate, chestnut, almond and prune cake. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Rosie Ramsden. Prop styling: Rachel Vere.
Plums are all very well, but ageing suits them. Their youthful bounce, wrinkled into tricky sweetness with spicy undercurrents: prunes are my favourite aunt of Christmas food, eaten from a fancy tin, soaked, stuffed or made into this cake – which came about by mistake. The recipe I intended to follow does not include butter, but habit got the better of me and, before I knew it, 250g of the stuff was melting into a dark pool with the chocolate.
It was an excellent mistake, turning a good cake into an exuberantly good one: dense, rich and thick – especially if you leave it until the next day, when it cuts into an almost fudge-like, velvet slice. Eat with a glass of port and a favourite aunt.
Chocolate, chestnut, almond and prune cake
Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr
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150g cooked and peeled chestnuts
100g whole blanched almonds
100g pitted prunes
250ml whole milk
250g butter, diced
250g dark chocolate, broken into smallish pieces
125g caster sugar
1 pinch salt
Put the chestnuts, almonds, prunes and milk in a small pan over a low heat, until the milk is almost, but not quite, boiling. Take off the heat and leave to sit for 10 minutes, then blend to a soft, rough paste.
In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate, then leave to sit for five minutes. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/gas 4.
Add the chestnut puree to the chocolate mix. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and salt until soft and fluffy, then add to the mix and stir vigorously. Scrape into a 23cm-25cm tin lined with greaseproof paper, and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, until set but just a little wobbly at the centre.
The cake will be soft and mousse-like inside, so leave to cool completely – at least an hour, but ideally three or overnight – before removing from the tin.
Fiona Beckett’s drinks match
With rich, luxurious desserts, you really need a fortified wine, so look to a sweet sherry, madeira or, given Rachel’s Italian bent, marsala. Try the well-priced Cantine De Vita Marsala Dolce (£11.99 Waitrose, 17%) or the lusciously sweet Blandy’s Duke of Clarence Rich Madeira (£10 Asda and Tesco, £12.39 Waitrose, £12.50 Morrisons, 19%). FB
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