This is an easy and delicious bread I make at Petraia to showcase our dried fruits and nuts. A blender batter, it is whipped up in an instant. It’s not too sweet either, making it perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is especially nice with poached quince and fresh pecorino cheese or, it is also fond of a boozy chicken liver mousse or foie gras. Our Vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve) dessert tommorrow night is going to be a slice served with the late apples we just harvested from the orchard and some of our dried almonds, hazelnuts, raisins and mulberries. We’ll drink a glass of Petraia mead, or perhaps the festive allspice digestivo I made last year and is just ready now to drink. The honey in this cake ensures it is a good keeper and it improves with age, after a day or two if you can manage to keep it around that long.
Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins
130 grams unblanched, unsalted, roasted almonds or hazelnuts
80 grams chestnut honey
50 grams yogurt (I prefer sheep’s milk yogurt)
20 grams cocoa nibs
2 teaspoons Tuscan spice*, Chinese 5 spice powder or Quatre épices
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional if you like pepper!)
1 cup mixed dried fruit (I use Petraia raisins and our dried mulberries)
Preheat your oven to 165 C and prepare 1 loaf tin or a muffin tin
Place everything but the dried fruit into a blender and process to a smooth batter. Fold in the dried fruit. Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf pan and bake at 165 C for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Muffins will take less time, around 25 minutes.
* Tuscan spice (aka droghe) are a special spice mix used for salami, ragu and sweets like panpepato. Droghe contain a dizzying variety of spices like wild fennel, orange peel, cloves, ginger, star anice, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander….Here, people often make their own and they tend to vary slightly from butcher to baker. Chinese 5 spice powder or French Quatre épices are good substitutes but I have a recipe for the real deal in Dinamica.