Dark Chocolate, Dried Apricot & Roasted Hazelnut Bark
Good quality dark chocolate flecked with tart strips of dried apricot and roasted hazelnuts tumbled together in small tins and jars, make delicious edible gifts for lovers of indulgence. The ingredients added make the act of melting, pouring and chilling chocolate appear complicated and the treat sophisticated. It really could not be easier to do.
I added a few rounds of hard Spanish torron (nougat) called Turron de Agramunt Aveliana, bashed to tiny, sweet shards in my pestle and mortar, to off-set the bittersweet chocolate and the sharpness of the plump apricots. Leave this out, or substitute with pieces of fudge, soft caramels or toffees if you like.
I was approached by the lovely folk at Mustardseed and Moonshine to have a look at their catalogue and to establish if their ceramics were of interest to me at Food and the Fab HQ. Ethereal, botanically inspired, utterly gorgeous. Can you guess the answer? Now, why had I not stumbled upon these beauties before.
While it’s true that I trawl shops and markets far and wide for all kinds of cutlery and crockery (some of them antique and suitable for hand washing and display only), I try to ensure the majority of functional pieces can be used in the oven, microwave and washed in the dishwasher, if possible.
I think the Mustardseed and Moonshine folk got all my attention, when I heard that the entire range is microwave, oven and dishwasher proof.
I styled the dark chocolate, dried apricot and roasted hazelnut bark on the deep green gladioli platter, the species being native to sub-Saharan Africa.
I’ve read that the Mustardseed and Moonshine range is distributed globally, and when I unpacked mine, I noticed how well the items were packaged.
If you order anything in the range (within South Africa) delivery will be free until 8 January 2012.
450 g semi-sweet chocolate (I used 70% couveture)
75 g hazelnuts, roasted till golden and bashed slightly
8 dried apricots, sliced thinly
2 rounds hard tourron (10 small soft caramels, chopped) – optional
sea salt, to taste
Melt the chocolate slowly in a double boiler (bowl suspended over a pot of boiling water works fine, as long as contents of bowl never come in contact with water). Stir constantly to aid melting
Line a regular baking sheet with baking parchment or wax paper.
Spread chocolate over the baking sheet, using a spatula or palette knife. Don’t worry if it appears thin – thinner is actually better for chocolate bark.
Sprinkle over nuts, apricots and nougat if using, as well as salt.
Store in fridge unti set – usually done in ten minutes.
Remove from fridge, peel off parchment and then cut or break into shards.
Store tightly wrapped in the fridge, especially in warm climates.
Add to glass jars or tins, tie with ribbon and give as gifts.