Merry Christmas to you all on this special Christmas Eve. It has been quite a year for many of us and I am sure this Christmas will be full of memories as well as creating new memories and traditions. We are gathering together on Christmas Day at my eldest son’s house with his wife, my grandsons, my other son and his wife. It is becoming a bit of a new tradition for us as in the past everyone came to our house. Now I sit and sip champagne, play Lego and relax whilst my daughter in law spoils me. Christmas Lunch is always a tasty vegetarian feast which takes about two hours to enjoy whilst chatting around the Christmas table. Later we have coffee and cake, a favourite has become a bit of a tradition, a Spanish Orange and Almond Cake I first made when living in Spain. In those days I picked the oranges from the tree in the garden then made the cake so lots of memories there including of the friend who gave me the recipe. I’ve made it so often I rarely use the recipe but have found it for you to try yourselves. Apologies for mix of measures which can be adjusted to taste but it is foolproof!
Ingredients (Serves 10)
2 Oranges, about 280grms (10 ozs) total weight, scrubbed and roughly chopped (with skin on)
5 eggs separated
200grms/(7 ozs) caster sugar (approx 1 cup)
225grms/(8 ozs) ground almonds (approx 2 cups)
2 tablespoons flakes almonds
Sifted icing sugar to decorate
Preparation Method: Prep: 1 hour. Cook: 55 minutes
Put the chopped oranges in a small saucepan, discarding any pips. Add 1 tbsp water then cover and cook gently for 30 minutes or until the oranges are soft and excess liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4. Line the bottom and sides of 23cm/9inch springform cake tin with baking parchment. Finely chop the cooled oranges in a food processor or with a large knife.
Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until they form stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in half the caster sugar, then whisk for 1 minute. Using the same whisk, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar in another bowl for 2-3 minutes or until pale and quite thick. Whisk in the finely chopped oranges, next carefully fold in the ground almonds. Stir in 3 spoonfuls of the whisked egg white to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites with a large metal spoon. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the top. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Check the cake after 20 minutes and again at 30 minutes, and cover lightly with foil if it is browning too quickly.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then turn it out, peel away the lining paper and transfer to a serving plate (delicious warm). Dust with icing sugar before serving. The cake can be kept in an airtight tin for up to two days.
Whatever Christmas treats you at planning enjoy yourselves. I hope to have a few new books and some good wine. Happy Christmas and good luck in 2017.