Adapted from Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts.
These bitter-chocolate-nut-and-fruit bars are delicious and almost guilt-free, as they have no added sugar. You will enjoy eating them and they make a much-appreciated edible gift; in any event, they are less of a problem when you bring to a friend’s dinner party, since flowers are a pain for the hosts who must stop everything and try to find a vase…
For about 80 pieces
250 grams dried figs, chopped and soaked overnight in 1/2 cup lemon-flavored liqueur
125 grams dried banana (jerky) chopped, or dried cherries or raisins
450 grams roasted mixed (unsalted) nuts –pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds– coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon or allspice (optional)
¼-1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste (optional)
750 grams bitter-sweet chocolate (65% or more) chopped and melted in a double boiler or in the microwave
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup shelled unsalted pistachios (optional)
In a large bowl toss together the figs, nuts, salt, spices and pepper, if using.
Stir the olive oil into the melted chocolate and pour over the nuts and figs. Toss with two large spatulas to coat well all the nuts and fruits with chocolate.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the chocolate mixture in it. If you like, spread the extra pistachios on top of the mixture, then lay another piece of parchment paper over and press well with your palms to even the chocolate mixture on the pan.
Refrigerate for about 2 hours, until hard.
Transfer to the work surface, peel off the top paper, and with a large knife cut into squares or bars.
Store in air-tight jars or boxes (not in the refrigerator, unless it is too hot).