The recipe comes from my mother-in-law's 'Classic Italian Cookbook' by Marcella Hazan. The accompanying blurb states that the 'marvellous thing about this dessert is that it requires no baking'. That of course is only true if you buy your Madeira cake from the supermarket. For the purposes of the blog, that would be cheating, so I turned to Nigella's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' for her Madeira cake recipe. Luckily the recipe made a little more than I needed, as Nigella's Madeira cake is very tasty in its unadulterated form. You have to work quickly when dipping the cake slices in the coffee/rum mix, to avoid them going soggy and falling apart, but generally speaking, the recipe was not as fiddly as I had imagined. It is definitely one I will be returning to.
When I was younger I used to make marzipan fruits for my Dad at Christmas, and chocolate covered candied orange peel for Grandad. Neither are with us now, and whilst no-one else in the family misses the orange peel, most of us are partial to a bit of marzipan at Christmas, so that tradition has continued. This year I had some lovely French marzipan to play with and made these stripey sweets, edged in dark chocolate. I also melted down some dark chocolate and studded it with dried cranberries and pistachios, to make these pretty chunks of chocolate. The idea had been to bag these up as gifts for the family, but in the end only a few made it out of the door.
So that is the end of the Christmas baking. Time to move on to new things. Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2012.