I do not come from a family of bakers. Great cooks, yes, but not bakers. My first attempt at baking was when I was about 7 years old and my mother wanted to keep me occupied so sent me to the kitchen with some baking ingredients. I decided to put my “cake mix” in a fish shaped tin and was beyond excited when I removed it from the oven as I thought I had struck gold with the idea of a fish shaped cake. As I turned it out on to the serving plate, my “cake” slipped and fell to the floor only to bounce an impressive foot before wobbling to its final resting place. In my defense, I think the whole meal flour was to blame.
That’s why I love this recipe so much – you literally mix the ingredients and put it in the fridge – no baking required and no fear of rubber fish. My mother made Torrone Molle for me every year on Valentine’s Day having got the recipe from her friend Anna Del Conte. Saint Names Days are a big deal in Italy and being called Valentina, I’ve managed to have a lifetime of cards on February 14th even if they are rarely from romantic admirers. My father once got all the assistants in his office to sign cards for me and send them from their homes. I got 15 cards that year from all around England.
I made Torrone Molle for the first time the other week – it’s very rich but also very delicious. A little goes a long way. Since it’s raw, please make sure to use the freshest of eggs and you might want to leave out the alcohol if you’re serving it to children! As far as portions, it is a versatile dessert. You can cut in slices as you would biscotti, cube as you would for bite size brownies or slice a larger portion to be served with a dash of whipped cream after dinner.
8oz. unsalted butter, softened
8oz. granulated sugar
4oz. good cocoa powder
1 egg plus
1 egg yolk
4oz. almonds coarsely chopped (blanched peeled cooking almonds work well)
4oz. plain cookies crumbled (you can use Lu’s Le Petit Beurre)
2 or 3 tbls. Brandy or rum (optional)
1. Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
2. Add cocoa (a little at a time) until all is absorbed.
3. Beat egg and egg yolk together lightly and add slowly to the mixture until well mixed.
4. Add all the rest, mix well and spoon into a 12” loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper.
5. Refrigerate overnight or for at least for 4 hours.
6. Turn out onto serving dish. It is not the most beautiful looking of deserts so I recommend cutting it into cubes or slices before serving.