On our first date, my now husband told me that when it comes to holidays, it goes:
2. Persian New Year
That was a big shock for me, since Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday season. What did he mean, Persian New Year was more important to him?! Did it have the beautiful decorations? Yes, actually there is a whole spread of flowers, fish, golden coins, fruit, painted eggs, and so much more!
But what about the smell of home baked cookies? Oh yes, Persian New Year has got that, too! And they all smell so good with cardamom and rose water in the air!
But are there special foods you eat? Absolutely! Traditionally, there is fried fish served with an herb rice. There is a lot of hoopla around extra smoked fish, salads, and other veggie dishes. I love tradition, but I also love to add a special touch. This is where I introduce you to the Persian New Year chocolate bark. It's sooo good, with a hint of cardamom, filled with almonds and pistachios for extra crunch, and dried cherries and mulberries for a sweet sour touch. And you know what the best part is? You don't even need to celebrate Persian New Year to enjoy this delicious chocolate. If you have a Thermomix, big bonus for super easy preparation! Scroll down for the easy version of this recipe. If not, follow the hot water bath for the melting of the chocolate directions.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Makes enough for everyone you know! :-)
510g/ 18oz bittersweet chocolate (I like this one!), broken into small pieces
1 cup raw almonds
½ cup raw shelled pistachios
½ cup dried golden berries (sour) or mulberries (not as sour)
½ cup dried tart cherries
1 tsp ground cardamom
pink sea salt
dried rose petals for decoration
Start by making a hot water bath to melt your chocolate. Use a wide pan, and cover the bottom with water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the stove.
Use a heat proof bowl (stainless steel or heat-proof glass) and place this in the water in the wide pan. Add the chocolate and let it sit and melt. Stir often. This can take a while - up to 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat a big pan over medium heat and add the almonds. Continuously stirring them, let them toast and brown on all sides, up to 7 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Once browned, place on a chopping board to let cool slightly.
Repeat the toasting again, this time with the pistachios. This will only take up to 2 minutes. Also place these on a chopping board to let cool slightly.
Make sure to check on your melting chocolate! Be extra careful that no water splashes inside the chocolate, it will break your chocolate immediately and ruin it!
Run a knife through your nuts, roughly chopping them. Place to the side together with the dried fruit.
Prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment or wax paper, and put to the side for now.
When the chocolate is completely melted, lift the bowl very carefully out of the water bath, and put to the side.
Add the cardamom and stir well to combine.
Now add half of the nuts and fruit, and stir to combine.
Spread the chocolate mix on the baking tray, using a spatula to even it out.
Now sprinkle with the remaining nuts and fruit, the rose petals, and pinches of pink sea salt.
Let sit to dry for 2 hours. Then it should be hard enough to break it into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month if you can resist!
Eide Shoma Mobarak - Happy New Year!
For the Thermomix:
Congratulations, your life just got so much easier! You will still need to toast the nuts by hand, but you don't need to keep an eye on the chocolate melting. Thermomix for the win!
Weigh in 510g/18oz bittersweet chocolate and add 1 tsp ground cardamom. Set timer for 15 minutes, temperature at 37C/ 99F at spoon speed to melt chocolate.
In the meantime, place a bowl on top of the lid, hit the scale, and weigh in 115g/4oz of almonds.
Toast the almonds in a wide pan carefully over medium heat. Put on a chopping board to cool off.
Repeat the weighing in on top of the Thermomix bowl, this time 50g/ 1.8oz of pistachios. Repeat the toasting process in the pan, and put to side to cool off.
Roughly chop the nuts and put to side.
Weigh in the dried fruit on top of the Thermomix lid: 65g/ 2.3oz dried tart cherries and 75g/2.6oz dried golden berries. Combine these with the nuts on the side.
Check that the chocolate is completely melted or set timer again. Add half of the nuts and dried fruit, set blades on reverse and mix at speed 2.
Spread chocolate mix on a baking tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle with the rest of the nuts and dried fruit, with dried rose petals, and with pinches of pink sea salt.