Cakewalk to Galicia
Recipe, inspiration and a bit o Irish in España
Are you ever inspired by others who DO something unique or special, even though you don't necessarily want to do what they've done? But you figure, "If they can do THAT THING, then I can do THIS THING."
I am inspired by the courage and determination of two dear, forever friends who are going through in-depth cancer treatment. And by two friends who walked El Camino this year.
For ages, the dedicated have made a pilgrimage along The Way in Spain, ending at the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, which has significant Irish influence. They play Irish-sounding music in Spanish. Who knew?
And in every bakery in Galicia, you will find this splendid cake. It's a wonderfully light almond cake, gluten free. So, for those who've asked for the recipe, here 'tiz. It can be a symbol of inspiration, meditation, prayer, or action… whatever you want. What inspires you?
Tarta de Santiago—Galicia
Pilgrims and tourists who visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, where the relics of the apostle Saint James are believed to be buried, see this deliciously moist and fragrant cake in the windows of every pastry shop and restaurant. It is usually marked with the shape of the cross of the Order of Santiago. Sometimes a little cinnamon is added, but I find that masks the delicate flavor of orange and almonds and prefer it without. The tarta was a Jewish Passover cake.
To start: 9 " springform pan; 2 mixing bowls; grease baking pan, sprinkle lightly w/flour; preheat oven 350
1/2 pound (1 3/4 cups) blanched whole almonds, ground finely or almond flour
6 large eggs, separated into 2 mixing bowls
1 cup superfine sugar
pinch of sea salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ t. almond extract
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
· Finely grind the almonds in a food processor. I use almond flour (Bob's Red Mill).
· Separate the eggs into two different bowls. Whisk yolks in one bowl with sugar & salt until they are a smooth pale cream. Then add zests, almond extract and ground almonds or almond flour. Mix well.
· In a larger bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold almond mixture into the egg whites; mixture is thick, so you will need to turn it over quite a bit and mix until it is a smooth, thick batter. I do this by hand with a big spoon.
· Pour cake batter into greased & floured pan. Bake in a preheated oven, 350°F for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out cleanly.
· When it cools a bit, run a knife around the edge to loosen. Let cool completely.
· Using spatula, slide cake onto serving plate.
· Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar. Or cut a St. James Cross out of paper, place it in the middle of the cake, and dust it with confectioners' sugar. Remove cross template and Voilà! Inspiration cake!
Sometimes served with apricot jam.
You can find more fine recipes in CORAZÓN CONTENTO, co-authored with my friend Madeline, who made a pilgrimage from Tucson, Arizona to Magdalena, Mexico. I am inspired! Hope you are, too.