Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Archive for the ‘Pareve’ Category

Savoy Cake (Gâteau de Savoie)

Posted by bakinghistory on July 13, 2008

A tender sponge cake ideal to serve with tea, preserves or custard

An old-fashioned cake—it dates back to the time of Louis XIV— that is always pleasant to have. Its texture is spongy and light, yet sturdy enough to spread with jam, or to line a mold to make a trifle. It does not contain any milk , butter, or leavening—it’s important to beat the batter well so that it can incorporate enough air for the cake to have a tender crumb.

From the original recipe by Sara Van Buren

In: “Good-living: A Practical Cookery-book for Town and Country”, 1890—USA

Ingredients:

1 cup (4 oz—113 g) unsifted powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) + extra to sprinkle on the cake

1/4 cup  + 2 tbsp (1-1/2 oz—42 g) AP flour (sifted) + extra for the cake pan

scant 1/4 cup (1 oz—28 g)  cornstarch

3 large eggs, divided

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or to taste)

vegetable oil to grease the pan

Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Sift together flour and cornstarch.

Beat the yolks at high speed until very light and pale yellow, add the vanilla and then the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, sifting it through a fine strainer. Beat until light.

Add the flour-cornstarch mixture, sifting it through a fine strainer,  mixing by hand or at the lowest speed, and only until just incorporated.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but still moist (do not overbeat).

Add 1/4 of the egg whites to the yolks and flours mixture, folding them in until well mixed.

Add the remaining egg whites, folding them in gently so that they do not deflate. Pour the batter in the prepared pan, place in the oven, and immediately lower the temperature to 325°F (160°C).

Bake for 40-45 minutes, and do not open the oven door before 40 minutes have passed or the cake will fall.

A cake tester will come out dry and clean once the cake is ready, and the cake will shrink slightly from the sides of the pan.

Place the mold on a rack for five minutes, then delicately unmold the cake and let it cool on a rack.

Once the cake is completely cold sift confectioners’ sugar on top and sides

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Posted in Cakes, Dairy-Free, Pareve, Tea | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Pesach Cake With Walnuts

Posted by bakinghistory on April 16, 2008

A moist and light walnut torte for Passover

One of my favorite songs in the Sephardic music repertoire begins with this verse:

“Purim, Purim, Purim lanu

Pesach, Pesach a la mano”

which in the Ladino language means that Purim is over and Passover is approaching.

Tortes and pastries made with ground nutmeats (almonds and walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts) are common in the Passover menus of Jewish communities around the world given the prohibition against foods that are considered leaven. Grains such as rye, spelt, wheat, barley, and oats, which can ferment, cannot be used to make baked goods to be eaten at Passover. Ground nutmeats, and potato starch, are then used instead.

This cake is simply made with ground walnuts, a small amount of matzo meal, no shortening, and a relatively high amount of eggs. The result is a moist sponge cake that can be enjoyed at the end of the Seder meal or with afternoon tea and coffee. The walnut taste is intense thanks to the long baking time at a moderate temperature, which toasts the nuts and brings out their flavor. There are many variations on this basic type of cake, such as those made with a mixture of walnuts and almonds and flavored with orange juice and zest, or by using toasted hazelnuts in place of the walnuts.

From the original recipe by Florence Kreisler Greenbaum

In: “The International Jewish Cook Book: 1600 Recipes According To The Jewish Dietary Laws…”, 1919—USA

Ingredients

1/2 lb shelled walnuts

1/2 lb sugar

9 eggs, divided

2 tbsp fine matzo meal

1 pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C). Line an 8-in cake pan with aluminum foil and generously grease with almond oil (or olive oil).

Grind the walnuts with 2 tbsp of sugar until fine and set aside. Beat the yolks at high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, then add the remaining sugar 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture is light. Mix in the ground walnuts, salt and the matzo meal and beat at high speed until well mixed. Take care to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula once in a while. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form and add a small quantity to the walnut mixture, mixing well to lighten it. Add the remaining egg whites by hand, gently folding them in with a spatula, making sure they are well distributed (the walnut mixture tends to stick to the bottom of the bowl). Pour the prepared batter in the pan and bake for about 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean (not less than 45 minutes anyway).

Make sure not to open the oven door before 45 minutes, or the cake might collapse.

Take the cake out of the oven and leave it in the pan on a rack to cool for about 5 minutes. It will slightly sink and shrink from the sides. Unmold it and let it cool completely on the rack.

This year the Festival of Passover, the celebration of the Exodus from Egypt, from slavery to freedom, begins at sundown on Saturday April 19.

Chag Pesach Sameach!!

Posted in Cakes, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Flourless Cakes, Jewish Cooking, Pareve, Passover, Treenuts | Tagged: , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Almond-Orange Cake (Focaccia alla Portoghese)

Posted by bakinghistory on April 9, 2008

A light and delicate sponge cake made with almonds and orange zest

The original name of this cake is Focaccia alla Portoghese which means Portuguese-Style Cake in Italian. In fact, the word focaccia in Italian does indicate both a savory flat bread and a sweet leavened cake. Artusi does not tell us anything more about the origins of this recipe besides its name, however the combination of almonds and oranges is an unmistakable characteristic of the cuisine of Sephardi Jews. This recipe might then have been inspired by those brought to Italy by Portuguese Jewish merchants or by the refugees that settled in many Italian cities at different times in history, such as following the expulsion of Jews from Portugal in 1497.

Incidentally, Artusi mentions a number of ingredients and dishes in his cook book that were introduced by the Jews and became part of mainstream Italian cuisine, for instance eggplants, pumpkins, and Pan di Spagna (sponge cake).

This cake has a wonderfully moist and spongy texture and is nicely flavored by the orange zest and the almonds without being too sweet. It keeps fresh for many days and it is actually better when made one day ahead. It is excellent served with tea or coffee, cut into tiny squares (or other fancy shapes) .

It is important to grind the almonds until they are reduced to a very fine powder, and even the granulated sugar should be ground briefly in the food processor or coffee grinder, especially if you use—as I do—organic sugar that tends to be relatively coarsely grained. The ground almonds need to be sifted and the larger pieces that remain in the sifter should be ground again until of the necessary fine consistency. These steps require an extra amount of time and might be tedious but are necessary to ensure a successful result and make a significant difference. Of course you can prepare the ground almonds ahead of time.

It is also essential to bake the cake at a very low temperature.

Artusi suggests to cover the cake with a crisp icing made with egg whites and sugar syrup. Personally I find that a light sprinkle of powdered sugar is more suited to the delicate texture of this cake.

From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi

In: “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene”, 1891—Italy

Ingredients:

1 cup (150 g) whole Almonds, blanched, raw

3/4 cup (150 g) Granulated Sugar

1/3 cup (50 g) Potato Flour (starch)

3 Eggs

1-1/2 (organic) Oranges (juice and zest)

Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the cake

Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C). Line a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with aluminum foil and grease with vegetable oil (I used almond oil, grapeseed oil is also good for this).

Grind the almonds with 1/3 of the sugar in the food processor or coffee grinder until very finely powdered. Sift the almond mixture with the potato flour and grind again any large pieces of almonds that might have remained in the sifter. Set aside.

Grate the zest of 1/2 orange. Squeeze the oranges and strain the juice; set aside.

Grind the remaining sugar with the orange zest until fine and powdery.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the balloon whip attachment beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy; set aside.

Beat the yolks at very high speed until light and pale yellow (using the balloon whip attachment). Gradually add the ground sugar and beat until well incorporated.

Switch to the flat beater attachment and add the ground almond mixture to the yolks and beat at high speed until light and well incorporated, taking care to scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula.

Add the orange juice and mix well.

Finally gently fold in the whipped egg whites, by hand, making sure they are well distributed and without deflating them. Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven (place the rack in the middle position) for about 45 minutes. A cake tester in the center must come out clean and dry when the cake is ready.

Place the pan on a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. The cake will slightly deflate and shrink from the sides of the pan. Unmold it and let it cool on the rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top once the cake is completely cool.

Note: I had inadvertently forgot to write when to add the orange juice to the batter. I have just corrected the text.

Posted in Cakes, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Flourless Cakes, Fruit, Gluten-free, Italian Cuisine, Italy, Pareve, Tea, Treenuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Orange-Graham Muffins & Orange Tea

Posted by bakinghistory on February 29, 2008

graham-muffins-6.jpg
A healthy breakfast full of the sunny flavor and scent of oranges
healthy-eats.jpg This is my entry for the Weekend Breakfast Blogging event hosted this month by Suganya of Tasty Palettes and initiated by Nandita of Saffron Trail. Suganya’s theme is “Healthy Eats”.
These muffins contain no eggs, no dairy, and just a minimal amount of sugar and shortening (olive oil). Graham flour provides fiber and freshly squeezed orange juice gives flavor and a moist, tender crumb. The tea is infused with fresh orange slices, and it is so flavorful it does not require any additional sugar.
From the original recipes by:
Alice Bradley In: “Sunkist Recipes. Oranges-Lemons”, c1916—USA
and
Mrs. J. L. Lane In: “365 Orange Recipes: an orange recipe for every day in the year”, c1909—USA
Ingredients
Orange-Graham Muffins

1/2 cup (65 g) flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp (25 g) sugar

3/4 cup (100g) Graham flour

Grated rind 1/2 (organic) orange

7/8 cup (205 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (1 cup minus 2 tbsp)

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp (30 ml) shortening (extra-virgin olive oil)

Orange Tea

1 thin-skinned (organic) orange

1 qt (1 l) freshly brewed hot tea

Make the Muffins: Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C); if you have cast iron muffin pans preheat them in the oven as well.

Sift flour, salt and sugar; add Graham flour and grated rind of orange. Dissolve the baking soda in the orange juice stirring
until it begins to get frothy, then add the shortening. Pour orange juice mixture onto flour mixture and mix well, then pour the batter quickly into (hot), greased muffin-pans, place the pans in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 400°F (200°C) and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Make the Orange Tea: Slice the orange into paper thin slices, discarding the seeds. Place the slices into a glass jug and pour the hot tea over them. Serve hot or cold and sweetened to taste.

Posted in American Cooking, Beverages, Dairy-Free, Eggless, Fruit, Muffins & Biscuits, Pareve, Tea, vegetarian, whole grains | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Chinese Almond Cakes

Posted by bakinghistory on February 5, 2008

almond-cakes-5.jpg

Traditional Chinese almond cakes

here is the ROUNDUP

This is my entry for the Chinese New Year blog event hosted by FoodFreak.

From the original recipe by Sara Bosse and Onoto Watanna [pseud.]

In: “Chinese-Japanese Cook Book”, c1914—USA

Ingredients

2 cups (320 g) rice flour + a little extra to form the cookies

1/4 cup (50 g) almond oil

1/2 cup (50 g) almonds, blanched

1-1/2 cups (180 g) confectioners’ sugar

2 eggs

To decorate: 10-12 almonds, blanched and split in half + 1 yolk mixed with 1/2 tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C)

Place the almonds, rice flour, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until the almonds are chopped very fine. Add the almond oil and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the eggs and process briefly, until a soft dough forms.

Sprinkle some rice flour on a wooden board and roll small amounts of dough into balls about the size of a small walnut.

Press the balls with the bottom of a glass (floured), then brush with egg wash and place a split almond in the center.

Alternatively, you can roll the dough 1/4-inch (0.6 cm) thick, then cut the cookies with a round cookie-cutter.
Bake the cakes on baking sheets for 1 hour, making sure the oven temperature is not higher than 325°F (160°C)

Let the cakes cool on racks and store in an airtight container

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti, Dairy-Free, Flourless Cakes, Gluten-free, Pareve, Rice, Treenuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »