Christmas in my British childhood meant Terry's chocolate oranges in the bottom of your stocking, fruit-studded Christmas pudding drowning in custard, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread, and roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding in gravy. Although these traditions are ingrained in my food memories I often wondered what it would be like to grow up in my Italian and Portuguese neighbours homes over the holiday with their different traditions. When I visited my Italian neighbour I would peer onto her dining room sideboard to view tray after tray of holiday goodies destined for the church bazaar or a Christmas Eve service. The trays were laden with the unfamiliar and intriguing.
Kala Christougena, Frohliche Weihnachten, Buon Natale
If I had grown up in an Italian or even Portuguese household I may have the urge for thin slices of salame al cioccolato, chocolate chouriço or in English Chocolate Salami . Chocolate Salami! Have you gone mad More Than Burnt Toast? Well, all craziness aside, chocolate salami is a reality and a delicious one at that!!! Chocolate salami is very popular in Italy where it is called Salame al Cioccolato. It’s also very popular in Portugal in the Algarve where it is known as Salame de Chocolate or Chocolate Chouriço. I even read somewhere that it is served in Turkey over the holidays as well. I first heard of it when I was browsing the Internet a few years ago and since then have found many different interpretations. Two years ago I made this version from Julie of Julie's Kitchen which was a huge hit with my family and friends. It was definitely a conversation piece!! This year I wanted to take it one step further and try a more traditional recipe with eggs. It is no bake, no fuss and perfect for the holidays since you can turn your leftovers into something special! My imaginary Italian Nonna would be proud!
Salame al Cioccolato is traditionally made using dark chocolate, cookies and dark rum. For this adult version, you could add up to 1/3 cup of brandy, Amaretto, Strega, Sambucca, or Grand Marnier for a nice twist. The Poruguese version uses a robust Port. The recipe makes two so save one for the kiddies without the alcohol since this is an unbaked treat.
Like most recipes the traditional has been altered over the years and today you’ll see versions with nuts and dried fruit. This Chocolate Salami recipe produces a beautiful log of chocolate studded with an assortment of dried fruits and nuts. It’s a great way to use up leftover cake or cookie crumbs, and is limited only by your imagination. For a festive flair I decided on pistachios and cranberries to bring a little holiday cheer. Dried fruits, such as figs or apricots, added to the mixture are also good, just make sure the ingredients you add are not too dry.
Shub Naya Baras, Selamat Hari Krimas, Geseënde Kersfees
Unlike the recipe I used in the past , this recipe uses raw eggs. I read several recipes and some called for using pasteurized eggs so off I went to the grocery store to see if I could find any. What I found was that all Canadian eggs are pasteurized that you find in the grocery stores so are safe for cooking in this application ...unless of course they are cracked or broken. Please make sure to use only the freshest of eggs.
These festive treats are great to make for gifts over the holidays or even as hostess gifts through the summer! It will leave people talking! Once you try this recipe, you’ll want to start playing with it by trying out different ingredients. It is very easy to make and lots of fun when you serve it. The Chocolate Salami will be firm when you first remove it from the refrigerator. It is best to cut slices immediately but then allow the slices to come to room temperature before serving. The slices will then become soft and luscious!
What food traditions do you enjoy from your childhood?
Fröhlichi Wiehnacht, Nadolig Llawen, Seasons Greetings!!!!!!
**Salame al Cioccolato (Chocolate Salami)**
226 g (8 ounces) good quality dark chocolate, 70%, finely chopped
100 g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature (slightly less than 1/2 a cup)
150 g (2/3 cup) caster (superfine granules) sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
30 ml (2 tablespoons) dark rum or port
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
15 g (2 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa, sifted
250 g (about 9 ounces) plain cookies (tea biscuits, digestive cookies), coarsely chopped
75 g (½-cup) dried cranberries or raisins
75 g (½-cup) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, finely chopped
50 g (1/3-cup) unsalted pistachios, toasted, finely chopped
Confectioners’ (icing) sugar, sifted, for work surface
1. In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of just simmering water, melt chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat, set-aside.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together butter and sugar until creamy.
3. Add the eggs; whisk until well combined.
4. Add the rum and vanilla extract; whisk to combine.
5. Add cocoa to cooled chocolate; stir until well combined.
6. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until well combined.
7. Add the cookies, cranberries, hazelnuts and pistachios to egg-chocolate mixture; stir to well combine.
8. Cover and chill chocolate-cookie mixture until firm, about one-half hour.
9. Using a fine mesh sieve, sift confectioners’ sugar onto a clean work surface. Transfer chocolate-cookie mixture to work surface.
10. Using your hands, form chocolate-cookie mixture into a log (resembling a salami) about 5-cm (2-inches) in diameter.
11. Using the fine mesh sieve, sift confectioners’ sugar over surface of log to well coat.
12. Place the log on a sheet of plastic wrap; wrap tightly. Twist the ends by grasping both ends of the wrap and rolling towards you several times (wrap as tightly as possible to keep the log shape). To secure, tie a knot at each end.
13. Chill in refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
14. To serve, cut into slices or place on a wooden board and allow your guests to slice on their own.
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