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Cooking Basics

Rich Italian Fruitcake

3 cups dried figs or dates
1/2 cup white seedless raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups soft wholegrain breadcrumbs
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons honey
Oil and dry breadcrumbs for pan
4 teaspoons pine nuts
1/2 cup walnuts

Soak figs or dates overnight in hot water.

The next day, bring them to a gentle boil and lower the heat, simmering gently until very soft. While the figs are cooking, soak the white raisins and dried cranberries in hot water.

When softened, drain figs or dates and place in large bowl. Drain other fruit, squeeze out excess water and add. Add remaining ingredients down to and including honey. Stir well to as smooth a consistency as possible. As you stir, the figs or dates become like a paste and you will have a very thick "cake-like" batter.

Rub a small springform pan or a layer cake pan with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with dry breadcrumbs, shaking out excess, like you would a flour coating. Spoon in the batter and smooth out. Cover the surface with pine nuts and walnuts or other nuts of your choice and press them lightly into the batter. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes, until firm.

Allow to cool on a rack for about 15 minutes.

Carefully run a spatula around the edges of the pan and invert onto a cake plate.

Cake is best served cold.