If like me you're a fan of those deliciously bitter sweet Almond Amaretti biscuits then you're going to love this cake, A deliciously different bake with the tang of fresh apricots, creaminess of dark chocolate along with the crunch and nuttiness of the Amaretti. I've adapted the recipe from a leaflet that I picked up in Waitrose a while back...sometimes these little giveaway recipes are a real treasure to find.
Here's a little bit of the interesting history of these wonderful little Italian Almond Macaroons that I have sourced from Wikipedia. I didn't realise that they had such a romantic connotation or that the actual crushed kernels of the apricot stone were often used to make these darling morsels.
Amaretti di Saronno (singular amaretto di Saronno) refer to an amaretto (almond flavored) macaroon that is traditional to Saronno, a comune of Lombardy, Italy. It is one of many types of traditional amaretto biscuits.
The Amaretti di Saronno are widely available commercially, most notably through the brand Lazzaroni. Amaretti di Saronno are unrelated to Amaretto liqueur, which is produced by two other companies based in Saronno - ILLVA and PLF.
The invention of this amaretto has received an amorous Renaissance treatment. In the early 18th century, a Milanese bishop or cardinal surprised the town of Saronno with a visit. A young couple, residents of the town, welcomed him and paid tribute with an original confection: on the spur of the moment, they had baked biscuits made of sugar, egg whites, and crushed apricot kernels or almonds. These so pleased the visiting bishop that he blessed the two with a happy and lifelong marriage, resulting in the preservation of the secret recipe over many generations.____________________________________________
It's a really easy throw everything together recipe that takes only minutes to prepare. We enjoyed this over the weekend with our late morning coffee instead of our normal brunch but it certainly can be eaten at any time of the day and would make the perfect dinner time dessert when served with a dollop of mascarpone.
If you prefer to measure your ingredients rather than weigh them here's a detailed conversion chart
200 gms Skinned and chopped fresh Apricot flesh ( approximately 4 large or 6 small fruits chopped into 1" cubes)
50 gms dark chocolate chips
150 gms Amaretti (roughly crushed)
125 gms Plain flour
1½ tsp Baking Powder
100gms Ground Almonds
3 eggs beaten
175 gms unsalted butter ( at room temperature)
175 gms caster (superfine sugar)
A little Icing (Confectioners Sugar) to dust
A chopped apricot to decorate (optional)
Butter and line a 20cm baking tin (preferably with a loose base) with baking parchment..
Set the oven to 150c 300F Gas 2
Place the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, almonds and eggs into a large bowl and beat together either with a whisk or by hand until well combined.
Now fold in carefully ¾ of the chocolate chips, ¾ of the chopped apricots and ¾ of the Amaretti biscuits.
Place the batter into the prepared tin ...level it and then roughly scatter over the remaining chocolate chips, apricots & Amaretti.
Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. Check to make sure there is no wobble in the centre of the cake, Test with a skewer if it comes out clean it's ready. Test at 7 minute intervals if it isn't quite baked through.
Leave in the tin on a wire rack until quite cold. Remove the parchment paper and it's ready to serve
Dust with icing sugar and decorate with a chopped apricot (Optional)
We served ours with deliciously creamy Mascarpone on the side