Last week at a local second-hand book fair, I unearthed no less than 8 new cookbooks which all
seemed to speak to me in some way and asked (in very polite voices) to come home with me. I’ll be the first to admit it… I struggle with a somewhat unhealthy addiction to cookbooks. I’m by no means a hoarder, but some time down the track when I can no longer manoeuvre my way between the kitchen and dining room because of the piles of cookbooks stacked from floor to ceiling (yes, I’ve seen snippets of those reality tv shows), I’ll be asking for your help!
One of the books that caught my eye at the fair was titled ‘The History of Australian Cooking’ and explains the various influences of cuisine that people from other countries and cultures have brought to Australia over the years. An interesting read that also includes a great introduction on the wide variety of native food that Australian Aborigines hunted and foraged for… and in some cases still do…
It was however the chapter on ‘Dutch Treats and Flemish Fancies’ that became the inspiration for my post today. The Kingdom of Belgium is but a small country, nestled in quite snugly on the coastline between France, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Germany… and for those of us infatuated by all things food around the world, we give thanks to the Belgians for the likes of their delectable chocolate, their wonderful waffles, their pots of deliciously moreish Moules-Frites (Mussels with French Fries)… and not to mention their fabulous array of beers. Perhaps not the most waist-slimming of dishes and drinks to consume on a regular basis, but oh so delicious as a special treat from time to time. The following cake is no exception… it was a little treat for my boys to come home to for afternoon tea today!
Another simple, yet delicious cake to add to the collection… The taste somewhere between a madeleine and a friand.
Belgian Almond Cake (Amandeltaart) | Gather and Graze
- 125g/½ Cup Unsalted Butter (Softened)
- 125g/½ Cup Caster Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Grated Lemon (or Orange) Zest
- 3 Free-Range Eggs (Separated)
- 125g/1¼ Cups Ground Almonds
- 75g/½ Cup Plain Flour (Sifted)
- Icing (Powdered) Sugar (optional – for dusting the top)
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 24cm flan or cake tin.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and one at a time, beat in the separated egg yolks. Remove the mixer bowl from the stand and fold in the ground almonds.
In a separate mixing bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
Fold in a third of the beaten egg whites to the butter/almond mixture, then fold in half of the sifted flour. Repeat the folding process with the remaining egg whites and flour.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
Allow to cool slightly, before removing from the tin. The Amandeltaart may be served warm or cold (dusted with icing sugar, if you like) and is perfect with a dollop of whipped cream on the side.
- Next time I plan on baking this in a fluted flan/tart tin which will give a prettier edging.