Now that what I wanted since November (spring!) is almost here, I feel the need to post one last “winter” recipe. I think you guys are really going to love me for this one too. And by that I mean you are going to be annoyed as all get out. I know this because I was there, feeling annoyed by such robust instructions like “handfuls” and “a little.”
And that was when there were measurements at all. Add to that ingredients like torrone (Italian nougat candy) and amaretti (crisp almond cookies), and you might just wonder if I went off on a field trip to Italy. I have not.
Despite these characteristics, I came out on the other side a believer. This recipe is from Dolci: Italy’s Sweets by Francine Segan. The New York Daily News has a nice article about the process she went through to create the book, along with a few additional recipes, available here.
I opted to make my own candied orange peel at home. I simply candied the peel from the same orange I used for the juice by bringing 1 cup of water and 1 1/4 to 2 cups of sugar to a boil, and then allowing the peel to simmer for about 30-40 minutes until soft and sweet. You can also make candied lemon slices in the same pot as the orange peel.
When it all comes together, the chewy, sweet fruit is the perfect complement to the rich chocolate and salty nuts. I was concerned about how soft the orange juice and amaretto would make the cookies, but the biscotti turned only soft, not soggy. Truly, I surprised myself by how much I liked this dessert.
As for winter, where I live, the season officially ends in just over one week on March 19. As much as I like to pick on winter, it seems like just yesterday it arrived. I rang in the first day of winter and the darkest day of the year by going to a candlelight yoga class. Just a few days later, I went home for what turned out to be pretty much the best Christmas yet. 2013 has been fairly status quo so far – full of work, recipes and the occasional antics – but I am certain good surprises are in store. (Actually, I am not sure about that last part at all, but here is to hoping!)
- 2 handfuls assorted dried fruit, chopped (apricots and craisins)
- 2 handfuls assorted nuts,chopped (walnuts and almonds)
- 1 handful torrone or candy bars (I used two Peanut bars by Justin's)
- 1 handful dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 handful milk chocolate, chopped
- 10 amaretti, coarsely chopped (I used 5 biscotti)
- "a little" (1 tablespoon) candied orange peel, minced
- (1/2 cup) orange juice
- (2 tablespoons) amaretto or limoncello, optional
- whipped cream or Mascarpone cheese for garnish, optional
- Combined the dried fruit, nuts, torrone, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, amaretti and candied orange peel. (This should keep in a well-sealed container placed in a cool, dry place for up to three months).
- One hour before serving, add the orange juice and liquor if using to moisten the fruit mixture.
- Top with whipped cream or Mascarpone cheese to serve.