Decadent Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and Dried Cherry Torte

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“Dried cherries are one of my favourite dried fruits. Sour, sweet and wilfully chewy, their inclusion here along with pistachios, cardamom and chocolate is spot on,” says chef and food writer Claire Thomson.

“What makes this cake especially clever is how the cake batter behaves as it bakes. On the bottom, you get a good crunchy base, and the remaining half of the base is then mixed through with the sour cream and egg to bake as a soft and cakey top, all studded with nuts, cherries and chocolate. Serve with creme fraiche or sour cream.”

Serves: 8


  • 130g light brown soft sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 100g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 120ml sour cream, plus extra to serve
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 80g dark chocolate, finely chopped, or use the same weight of dark chocolate buttons
  • 40g shelled pistachios or chopped almonds
  • 40g dried cherries


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C. Line a 24cm round cake tin with baking paper.

2. Combine the sugar, spices and flour with the pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips, until you have a sandy texture. (Alternatively, you can do this bit in a food processor, pulsing until you have the right texture.) Tip half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the cocoa. Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin and press down slightly to form an even base.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, baking powder and egg. Add this to the remaining our mixture, then stir in the chocolate, pistachios and dried cherries, and pour the whole lot over the pressed base. Sprinkle the mixture with the two tablespoons of sugar.

4. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the torte to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and slice.

New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson, photography by Sam Folan, is published by Quadrille.

Do you like dried fruits in puddings? What’s your favourite fruit and chocolate combination?

– With PA

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