Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Almond and Clementine Cake, Claudia Roden style
Christmas and clementines go together. At this time of the year, the shops are flooded with tiny clementines from Morocco and slightly larger specimens from Spain, and I keep buying wooden trays of the orange fruit. Mostly we simply eat them au naturel, but I've been experimenting with few dessert and cake recipes as well.
There's a lovely recipe for flourless almond and orange cake in Claudia Roden's excellent book on Jewish food that I had been wanting to make for ages. The idea of boiling whole oranges and using the whole lot - zest, pith, fruit - in a cake sounded intriguing. Nigella Lawson has adapted the recipe and uses clementines, but I followed Claudia's original instructions here. However, I used clementines instead of oranges, and an excellent Swedish clementine-flavoured glögg Blossa instead of orange flower water. We loved the resulting cake a lot - slightly bitter (from the zest and pith), very moist and just rather unusual. We'd definitely make this again - and perhaps try the original version with oranges as well. (Mmmm - perhaps even those gorgeous red 'blood oranges' when they appear in the shops in a few months?).
You want clementines with thin skin here and as little white pith as possible. That's why I chose the thin-skinned Maroc-clementines here. Oh, and it'll be a much easier job if the clementines have no or just a few seeds.
Almond and Clementine Cake
400 g clementines (about 8-9 small fruit, preferably organic and unwaxed)
6 large eggs
250 g sugar
250 g blanched ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp orange flower oil or citrus liqueur
Wash the clementines carefully in hot water. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring into a boil and simmer on a low heat for about 60-90 minutes, until the clementines are soft.
Drain the clementines and cool a little. Cut into halves, remove any seeds. Place the clementines into a food processor and blend into a coarse purée.
Whisk the eggs and sugar into a thick and pale foam.
Blend ground almonds with baking powder, then fold into the egg foam.
Stir the orange flower water or Blossa glögg into the clementine mixture, then gently fold into the rest of the ingredients.
Pour the batter into a buttered and lined 26 cm springform tin.
Bake in a preheated 180 C oven for about 45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown on top. Test for doneness with a wooden toothpick - it should be clean after inserting into the middle of the cake.
Cool before transfering the cake onto a serving tray.