Ever wonder what dinner parties were like for the officers at historic Fort George? Well, one thing we know for sure, they were elaborate affairs. A popular recipe in circulation at the time instructs readers to form a large almond-based cake into the shape of a hedgehog. This extravagant dessert doubled as a centrepiece for the table, where it would sit for the duration of the meal. We’ve updated this recipe for modern cooks by making individual marzipan hedgehogs. These little guys have all the flair of the original, but are much easier to make.
If you can’t find coca nibs, finely chopped dark chocolate or dried cherries can be used as a substitute. 2 tsp orange zest can be used to replace orange blossom water.
Place 1/4 cup icing sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Combine almonds with salt and 1 cup icing sugar in a food processor. Whirl until well mixed, then gradually add corn syrup and orange blossom water through spout. Continue to whirl until mixture combines.
Remove from food processor and divide paste into 2 tablespoon-sized portions. Form each portion into an oval, then narrow one end to form the hedgehog’s face.
Toss marzipan in prepared icing sugar until evenly coated then transfer to a clean work surface.
Dust cocoa powder over hedgehog’s body, avoiding its face. Press 3 cocoa nibs into the face to form the hedgehog’s eyes and nose. Poke almond slices into hedgehog’s body, staggering slices as you go.
Repeat with remaining marzipan.