CHOCO­LATE FRUIT AND NUT WREATH

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Festive Classics -

Prepa­ra­tion time 20 mins Cook­ing time 1 hour 35 mins Serves 12

Cook­ing oil spray, to grease 150g Brazil nuts 150g dry roasted al­monds 120g dry roasted macadamias 200g glacé cher­ries 375g mixed dried fruit 180g pit­ted dates, halved 100g dark choco­late, finely chopped 1/3 cup plain flour 2 free-range eggs 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed 80ml brandy, plus ex­tra 40ml Finely grated zest of 1 or­ange ¼ cup self-rais­ing flour ¼ cup co­coa pow­der 1 tsp ground cin­na­mon ½ cup apri­cot jam, to brush

STEP 1 Pre­heat oven to 140ºc fan-forced (160°C con­ven­tional). Grease base and sides of a 21cm (base mea­sure­ment), 10cm-deep, 5cm wide cen­tre, re­mov­able base ring tin with cook­ing oil. Line base and sides, in­clud­ing cen­tre, with bak­ing pa­per.

STEP 2 Coarsely chop half of the nuts, then trans­fer to a large bowl, re­serv­ing re­main­ing whole nuts for dec­o­ra­tion. Add half of the cher­ries, re­serv­ing re­main­ing for dec­o­ra­tion also, then stir in mixed dried fruit, dates and choco­late and stir to com­bine. Add plain flour. Toss well to coat in flour.

STEP 3 Beat eggs, sugar, brandy and zest to­gether in a large bowl with a whisk. Add self-rais­ing flour, co­coa pow­der and cin­na­mon and whisk to com­bine. Fold through fruit and nut mix­ture un­til all of the flour has been in­cor­po­rated. Spoon into pre­pared tin and smooth sur­face. Tap firmly on bench.

STEP 4 Gen­tly press re­served nuts and cher­ries onto top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour 35 min­utes or un­til a skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin. Turn out, nut side up.

STEP 5 Put jam and ex­tra brandy in a small saucepan. Sim­mer and then brush over cake. Set aside for 30 min­utes. Serve.

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