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Because I host a lot of dinner parties, when I think of "playing with food," I often think of the tomfoolery or illusion I can present to my guests that will both surprise and delight. And as tomfoolery goes, this chocolate salami is one of the best. Lay these out on a cutting board, perhaps as part of a cheese course, and watch as your guest discover an amazing chocolate desert hidden inside the chameleon clothing of what looks like a cured meat salami.
This is not salami at all, but is in fact chocolate, nuts, confectioner's sugar and other simple ingredients combined to create the near perfect trompe l'oeil illusion of a cured salami. Even after you cut into it, the illusion maintains. But once you get a slice in your mouth, all illusions are over. This is the perfect chocolate delivery vehicle: bittersweet dark chocolate, hazelnuts, pistachio, almonds and the deep cherry note of a syrah port.
Be sure to make a full recipe because these will go fast.
For some great dessert ideas, check out this blog http://gracessweetlife.com/recipes/
Step 1: Ingredients & Prep
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8 ounces good quality dark chocolate
7 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp Port ( I used Barnard Griffin Syrah Port) *can substitute dark rum*
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa,sifted
9 ounces tea biscuits, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted,skinned & finely chopped
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted, finely chopped
1/2 cup raw almonds, toasted, finely chopped
* Bamboo roller mat for texture
* Galvanized steel wire
Do all your prep work first, as there are a lot of steps and this will cut your work time in half.
Finely chop chocolate and set aside.
Toast and finely chop nuts. Set aside. I toasted the hazelnuts separate because of the skins. You don't want the skins from the hazelnuts mixed in with the other nuts.
Sift cocoa powder and set aside
Measure out cookies and place in a ziploc freezer bag. With a rolling pin, gently roll over 3 or 4 times, until broken up. Then, using your hands, break into little pieces. Set aside
Step 2: Melt Chocolate
Add chopped chocolate to a heatproof bowl over simmering water and melt until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit.
Step 3: Cream eggs and sugar
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs: whisk until well combined. Next, add port and vanilla extract. Vigorously whisk until combined.
Step 4: Add the chocolate
Add sifted cocoa to the cooled chocolate mixture. Then add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Next add cookies and nuts to the egg-chocolate mixture. Stir until combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes, until firm.
Step 5: Form the Salami
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Using a fine mesh sieve, sift confectioners' sugar onto clean work surface. Transfer chocolate-cookie mixture to work surface. Using your hands, form chocolate-cookie mixture into a log resembling salami. Using sieve, sift confectioners sugar over log. Transfer log onto sheet of plastic wrap and roll tightly, maintaining shape of salami. Lastly, transfer log to bamboo roller and roll again to achieve texture of salami.
Repeat until you have four chocolate salami's.
Return to fridge and chill for at least three hours before serving. Preferably, overnight.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
I used galvanized steel wire applied to the ends of the salami for an authentic look. I also kept an old salami wrapper to use as a prop for serving.