Dan Lepard

Date & Cinnamon Tart

16 November 2011

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With Christmas looming around the corner, my thoughts have been turning to holiday baking and the return of seasonal favourites which make their annual (but much anticipated) appearance around this time of year. I always look forward to the first batch of fruit mince pies, which is a rather curious phenomenon for me considering that I am actually not a big fan of fruit mince. In fact, I loathe fruit cakes and traditional Christmas cakes; I can eat a slither of a slice out of politeness, so long as there is a nice cup of tea to help me wash it down.

One year, I attempted Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Fruit Cake from Feast in the mistaken belief that the chocolate part of the cake would somehow override the dried fruit content. However, the cake was so heavily concentrated with dried fruit (a whopping 725 g to be precise) that it was essentially a big mound of dried prunes, raisins and currants held together by a mere few tablespoons of cocoa. How I managed to still convince myself to make the cake after reading the recipe, I’m not sure. Needless to say, I found the cake to be inedible and, incredibly, so did my husband who, up until that point in our relationship, had never spat out anything I had made, nor gone against his frugal nature and request that I throw away good food. I guess the point he was making was that this particular fruit cake was not “good food”. I know it sounds harsh, especially since I know many who are great fans of this particular recipe of Nigella, but it happens to be the one dish where my husband has derived great pleasure in telling our friends that I am sometimes short of the domestic goddess title, and I don’t blame him either.

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