Wednesday 15 July 2015

Citrus and Almond Cake

Muggy. Hot. Humid. These are all words that many a Canadian loves to drop in reference to our sometimes overwhelming summers. As a people exposed to radical weather all year long we've grown into proficient complainers (though perhaps not as the global champions, the much acclaimed Parisians), ever longing for a milder climate we tend to attack the mercury's verdict, when it's cold it's too cold and when it's hot...well of course it's too hot!
                From a culinary perspective however, we're forced to acknowledge that no, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Our weather allows us to benefit from the best of both worlds, where we gripe about weather, you rarely hear any complaints about the wide range of delectable dishes which we dive into with relish all year long. While our winters are perfect for warm bread, pot roasts and soup, our summers lend themselves very well to leafy salads, grilled fare and light, sweet desserts. This brings us to today's recipe, a delicate olive oil based cake devoid of wheat flour which is inspired by the summery cuisine of North Africa. This wholesome cake is somewhat custardy in consistency, relatively high in protein and an easy gluten free option. In addition to this, the cake is amazingly moist, due to the peculiar method of integrating the whole citrus to the batter so get your blenders out folks!

                Desserts such as these are best served after a long outdoor dinner, preferably late in the evening alongside good conversation, appearing as an unexpected exclamation mark wrapping up a convivial evening. I suggest eating this cake cool or at room temperature, with a cup of mint tea and a substantial side of summer.

1 Orange
1 lemon
1/3 c. Olive Oil
3/4 c. + 2tbsp. Sugar
4 Eggs
3/4c. Of ground whole almonds
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
Orange blossom water (Optional)
Icing sugar for garnish

Wash thoroughly and boil  the lemon and orange whole for approximately half an hour, until softened

While the citrus boils, grind your whole almonds to make a coarse flour, add baking powder and salt

Grease an 8 inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Let  the citrus cool and carefully slice the fruit into chunks large enough to be processed in a blender or food processor, if like me you lean towards impatience, make sure not to burn yourself as you cut into the fruit! If you see any seeds, feel free to discard them, however don't worry terribly as any ones you might miss are about to be pulverized

Using your machine of choice, add the olive oil and render the citrus into a coarse mush, feel free to add a tablespoon of olive oil or two more than suggested in the recipe to ease the process if the fruit is not blending easily

Add the eggs to the mixture, making sure it's cool enough not to curdle the eggs and blend into a puree.

Combine flour mixture, puree and sugar, pour it into the pan and bake for one hour until browned and set, brush while warm with orange blossom water

Feel free to garnish with a dusting of icing sugar, almonds, candied citrus peel or zest

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