This stuff’s addictive. There’s no cure. If you make a batch, you’ll simply have to invite neighbours around and not let them leave until the lot is eaten, otherwise you’ll eat it all yourself.
250g (about 8½ ounces) unblanched whole almonds 250g (about 8½ ounces) dark cooking chocolate, roughly chopped 6 medium (size 6) free-range egg whites ½ cup caster (superfine granulated) sugar 250g (about 8½ ounces) dried figs, stalks removed and finely chopped
1 Line a 23cm (9”) cake tin with non-stick tin foil. Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F).
2 Put almonds and chocolate in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. This makes a huge racket, so be prepared!
3 Whip egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, then gradually add caster sugar, beating for 3-5 minutes. Fold in almonds and chocolate, then the figs. Turn mixture into prepared tin. Cook in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave torte to cool in the oven.
4 Turn torte on to a serving plate and peel off foil. Refrigerate until required. Serve it cut into small squares.
This makes one grand torte, which serves16 or more, but I find it more useful cut into small squares and served as a sweet treat with coffee or dessert wine. It will keep quite well in an airtight container for several days, though it’s hard not to pinch a piece whenever you walk past.
I do warn you about the noise the almonds make in the food processor – stick ear plugs in if you have them because it is deafening. And put out the cat, or the kids.
The most important thing with this recipe is not to have the oven too high, or to overcook the torte because then it is likely to be dry. I like to use soft figs, not hard leathery jobs that are hard to cut, and that are later on hard to chew. Once you’ve got your ingredients sorted, making these beauties is dead easy. I use non-stick tin foil to line the cake tin. Nothing sticks to it. If you are careful, it can be wiped clean and reused. For a festive look, dust the chocolate figgy squares with icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), or spread the top with dollops of whipped cream and serve as a dessert with fresh strawberries.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com