Capri is the number one island to visit in Italy, and this is one of its fabulous specialities - torta caprese. It's a gloriously rich chocolate cake with nuts, and beautifully sums up the simplicity and elegance of this glittering island. Serve with a little glass of vin santo.
80g shelled pistachio nuts
100g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
250g plain dark chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids
4 large eggs, separated
160g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
150g ground almonds
8 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1) Put the pistachios in a medium bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave to soak for 3 minutes then drain and peel off the skin. Roughly chop the nuts. Set aside.
2) Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Grease a deep, loose-bottomed cake tin, 23cm diameter, with butter.
3) Break the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl and add the butter. Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. The base of the bowl should not touch the water or the chocolate will become bitter. Heat gently until just melted (do not stir), then remove the pan from the heat and stir.
4) Put the egg yolks and icing sugar in a large bowl and whisk using a balloon whisk for about 5 minutes until fluffy and pale.
5) Put the egg whites in a medium bowl and whisk using an electric hand whisk on full speed until firm peaks form.
6) Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl with the egg yolks and sugar and mix thoroughly. Stir in the pistachios and almonds. Gently fold one third of the egg whites into the mixture using a metal spoon. Fold in the remaining egg whites in 2 stages.
7) Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and spread it out evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until well risen and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
8) Stand the tin on a cooling rack and leave to rest for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto the rack and leave to cool. Just before serving lightly dust with icing sugar, then slice and serve with a tablespoon of mascarpone per person.