I’m very much looking forward to hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. It’s going to be a rather unlikely event, given by two recent British expatriates and attended by a Canadian and an Australian, who have actually been residents of the U.S. for many years now. I think – I hope – that I’m entering into things with at least the right spirit, and to that end have already roasted a ham and made a pumpkin pie. There’s a beautiful heritage turkey (a bourbon red) prepared for the oven, and I’m thinking about rescheduling the entire event in order to accommodate the NFL Thanksgiving games, which I’ve just learnt – literally minutes ago – are apparently very important. They promise to be an American spectacle, so perhaps I should embrace them too.
As well as dessert, I thought it would be fun to have some after-dinner chocolates, which can be great flavoured with ingredients like mint or ginger. In the end I settled on these extremely easy chilli chocolate pieces, which should make an excellent accompaniment to either coffee or dessert wine.
Recipe: Chilli Chocolate Pieces
2x4oz bars of good quality bittersweet chocolate
½ fresh red chilli – seeds removed and diced
1 cup mixed unsalted nuts and seeds – I used almonds, pistachios and walnuts, as well as pumpkin and sunflower seeds
¾ cup mixed dried fruit – I used cranberries and raisins
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C / Gas Mark 6
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. It’s important to make sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Once it has melted – this will take a few minutes – remove the bowl and put aside. Spread the nuts, seeds and chilli on a baking tray and place in the hot oven until they are toasted – this will take about 5 minutes. Leave for a couple of minutes to cool and chop everything before mixing in a bowl with the dried fruit.
Put ½ a cup of this mixture to one side, and the rest into the bowl of chocolate. Stir well until everything is well-coated with the melted chocolate. Line the baking tray with wax paper and spoon the chocolate mixture onto it, using the back of a spoon to push it out smoothly to the sides of the tray. Sprinkle the reserved fruit and nuts over the top, pressing gently to set them just into the chocolate. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool. Once set, just break the block into pieces – as big or small as you want – and enjoy!