Sunday, March 22, 2009
Flourless Honey Almond cake
So now that Maizee seems to have made a full recovery, life is returning to "normal" and I have some baking to share.
We had a very special guest over for dinner last night. Lynn is who we got Maizee from and we are forever in her debt as far as I'm concerned. Lynn went to school with Doug and is the only friend he maintains contact with because she's so great. I wish Lynn lived closer, but she lives in Oshawa, which isn't so far, but an hour to come for dinner is a bit of a haul. We all still seem willing to travel to maintain our friendship, so it's all good!
I love having Lynn over not only for her company, but because she challenges me in the food making department. You see, Lynn is Celiac, which means she cannot tolerate wheat gluten in any way shape or form. All that label reading that doesn't get done when you don't have to, is now vitally important when someone's health is at risk. Did you know that there is wheat in soy sauce, malt vinegar and tucked into God knows what else? It is a difficult condition to have because it's hard to cut out the gluten that is hidden in so many prepared foods. So part of the answer is to cut out prepared foods, but when you're a single homeowner getting no help making your dinner, sometimes prepared food would come in handy, but for the most part it's off limits.
When Lynn comes, I try to make something fabulous and include a great dessert, because she has a bit of a sweet tooth (don't we all?). Secretly though I want her to ask for the recipe, because then I know it was a true hit. Lynn is a very talented baker and cook in her own right, so I love it when I can make her happy.
For the main course, we had T-bones on the grill with garlic roasted potatoes and carrots and roasted asparagus. Sorry, no pictures, we were hungry and it all went too quickly.
For dessert we had a flourless honey almond cake from this months' Eating Well magazine. I know I kind of ruined the spirit of the recipe, by serving it with home made ice cream, but since I was coming at it from a gluten-free perspective, I figured it was OK. Seriously, I can rationalize just about anything....
Recipe adapted from Eating Well, April 2009 magazine:
1 3/4 cups toasted ground almonds
4 large eggs, room temp., separated
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Oven 350 F, coat a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. ( I baked mine in silicone molds, for individual presentation, the baking time was only slightly less than baking it in a large round)
Whisk together 4 yolks, 1/2 cup honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl, until well combined. Stir in the toasted ground almonds until combined.
On a stand mixer, or using a hand held mixer, beat the 4 egg whites on medium speed until very foamy, doubled in volume but not stiff enough to hold peaks. 1-2 minutes depending on which kind of mixer you're using.
Fold 1/3 of the whites into the yolk/almond mixture to lighten, then gently fold in the rest of the whites, until just combined.
Scrape into pan.
Bake until golden brown and skewer inserted comes out clean - about 28 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 min, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently remove the side ring. Cool completely.
Vanilla Ice Cream - Philadelphia style (taken from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop)
3 C 35% cream
3/4 C sugar
pinch of salt
1T vanilla bean paste
Take 1C cream and all the sugar and the salt into a small sauce pan. Heat and stir constantly only until sugar melts. Take off the heat and add to the 2 C of cold cream. Add the vanilla bean paste and set in fridge to cool down completely. When cold, add to ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
To serve the cakes, I melted about 2T ice cream on the plates, then place the cake on top, added a small scoop of ice cream and berries and you're done! The honey cake adds texture to the dessert, not only with the cakey feel, but also the almonds add a bit of a granular dimension to the softness of the ice cream. It would also be delicious with a sorbet, because the cake is kind of neutral and could go with many different accents.