February 10, 2013

From Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson

Serves 8-12 slices


8 egg whites
150g caster sugar
Few drops almond extract
Zest of 1 clementine or ½ orange
125 mls mild and light olive oil, plus more for greasing tin
150g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
100g flaked almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
approx 2 tsp icing sugar to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 23cm springform cake pan (or use a special baking spray) and line the base with parchment paper.

1. In a clean, grease-free bowl. Whisk the egg whites until they are opaque and start to hold their shape, then slowly add the sugar, whisking until it’s all incorporated and the mixture is thick and shiny.
2. Add the almond extract and the clementine or orange zest. Then, in about 3 goes each, alternately whisk in the oil and the ground almonds (mixed with the baking powder) until they are both smoothly incorporated into the meringue.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, then mix together the flaked almonds and cinnamon and sprinkle them over the top of the cake.
4. Bake for 35-40 mins (though start checking at 30), by which time the top should have risen and be set and the almonds become golden; and a cake tester should come out clean, barring the odd almond crumb.
5. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool, in its tin, on a wire rack. Once it is no longer hot, spring open the sides of the tin, but don’t try to remove the cake from the base until properly cool.
6. When you are ready to serve, push the icing sugar through a small strainer and over the cake to create a snowy effect, and take to the table.

La Femme Version:

Burnt, that was my version.  The method is very much akin to making a meringue and I think I may have added too much air, consequently the edges of the cake rose massively and burnt pretty quickly into the cooking process.  Once cooled it was a simple operation to shave off the burnt outer edges of the surface, camouflaging that area with more cinnamon coated almonds et voila

Food & Wine Matching:

This recipe really just rounded off the foods and wines we had tasted during our F&W Club Italy & Spain lesson.  As almonds feature quite often in the tasting profiles of Italian wines in general I thought it was probably a nice inclusion.  We all agreed it was a great dessert to complete any Italian meal, and it proved to be the perfect accompaniment.

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