Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fatai- panni, sweet potato cake

This is a lovely, rich, moist cake that is very economical and easy to do. Like the Sephardic orange cake, it is flour free so good for those with gluten issues.
Basic elements
The look and texture reminds me a little bit of Frangepani, the Italian almond and pear cake.
The Gaelic word in Connemara for Potato's is Fatai (faah-tee) as opposed to thge more common pratai used in Munster and Ulster Irish, hence the name I gave this recipe - fatai-panne. It could easily have been called Henry Hill Cake (from the movie Goodfellas, Half Mick, Half Guinea)

Its an unusual pudding, based on a Minorcan recipe. You don't need the rhubarb in this one but I feel the tartness and flavour really adds to the overall dish, and rhubarb to me is the taste of an Irish spring, far more so than strawberries.
The gang from Garrai Glas really liked this cake.

500g of floury potato's
120g Sugar
3 eggs, separated with whites stiffly beaten
Zest of 1 lemon
Knob of Cuinneog Butter
200g Rhubarb

If you want a lighter texture you can always add a teaspoon of baking powder.

Boil the spuds in their skins until done, then cool slightly, peel and mash or pass through a processor or food mill.
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C or Gas Mark 4
In a large bowl, work the egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest into the potato, then slowly add the stiff egg whites and sliced rhubarb.
Pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish; I use a fairly shallow one for this recipe.
Then bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cocktail stick can be inserted in the middle of the cake and come out clean.

If desired sprinkle sliced almonds over the cake about 10 minutes before cooking is finished.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Super Simple Sephardic Orange Cake

I think, apart from shortbread, this may have been the first cake I ever baked. I first saw the recipe in the UK's Times back in 2005 by

Maeve was a great gardener, far better than I, with flowers and fruit trees in particular. I would send her tulip bulbs every year from Holland when I was living or working there.
Something that makes me both happy and sad is that on her last trip home from Hospital a few bulbs from two years ago decided to put on a show for her, and her favorites - a deep dark purple type - were in full flower, and this posting is dedicated to the fond memory of a woman who meant a great deal to a great many people.
I think she would have loved Seville where the streets are lined with beautiful pruned orange trees.
The Spanish don't really like this type of orange, Seville oranges are thick-skinned and bitter; good for marmalade-making.
The other orange, the navel, is the one eaten, sliced into salads of onions and olives or pressed into juice.
But they do use the Seville orange to make this flourless cake, suitable for those with issues with gluten.
This is one of two flourless cakes I bake, the other - Fataipanni, I will write up soon.

The cakes origins are in the Sephardic tradition. These were the Jewish diaspora in Iberia before their expulsion in the late 15th century.

This light and delicious half cake-half sponge is very easy to do and can be prepped in two simple ways.
I kind of plan to enter in in the Clifden Pony Show this year so wish me luck.

3 medium oranges
6 eggs, separated
200g sugar
200g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder

 Place the clean, whole and unpeeled fruit in water to cover, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1½ hours or until soft, adding more water when necessary.
Drain the oranges, cut into quarters, discard any major pips, and whiz the rest, including peel, in the food-processor, then cool.
Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until pale.
Beat in the oranges, almonds, and baking powder.
Beat the egg whites until softly peaky and fold gently into the mixture.

Pour into a 23cm /9" spring form cake tin and bake for an hour, until firm to the touch (cover with a loose sheet of foil if over-browning). Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve.

In this case I did the cake mix in two tins and filled with lime flavoured whipped cream, served with my own homegrown strawberries

Sometimes, as I did in this case, I divide the mixture into two tins and bake for about 35 minutes- that way with a whipped cream filling the cake can be served up more as a sponge cake.

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