ofm top twenty: tarta de santiago

i love almond cakes and so i was delighted to see claudia roden’s tarta de santiago as part of the ofm top twenty.  according to roden, “this is a splendid cake which is normally made in a wide cake or tart tin and comes out low, but it is equally good as a thicker cake. i have eaten almond cakes in other parts of spain but this one is special. pilgrims and tourists who visit the great cathedral of santiago de compostela in galicia, where the relics of the apostle saint james are believed to be buried, see the cake in all the windows of every pastry shop and restaurant, decorated with the shape of the cross of the order of santiago.”

so, how did i get on?

i used my lovely new stand mixer to make my tart as i’d read the recipe and knew that folding the beaten egg whites in was going to be a tough job give how stuff the egg/sugar/almond mix would be and the mixer has a “folding in” setting which i wanted to try. it definitely helped but a metal spoon and some serious elbow power would also fine. everything came together well for me. 

i cooked my tart for slightly less time than suggested – 35 minutes – and found this was good for the general texture but getting the tart out the tin was a bit tricky, so next time i’d line the base of the tin and perhaps check if it was ready after 30 minutes.

the final verdict:

would i have tried this recipe if it hadn't been part of the ofm top twenty? yes – almonds, and citrus and favourite characteristics of a cake recipe and claudia roden has a great reputation for delicious and authentic recipes.

would i try this recipe again in the future? yes – the tart was moist and delicious; i’d probably increase the citrus zest (just an extra half and orange, i think) and i’d line the base of the tin but apart from that it’s a great recipe.

claudia roden’s tarta de santiago (serves 10)

250g blanched almonds i used ground almonds, which was fine)

6 eggs, separated

250g caster sugar

grated zest of 1 orange

grated zest of 1 lemon

4 drops almond extract

butter to grease the cake tin

flour to dust the cake tin

icing sugar for dusting the cake

you will also need a springform cake tin around 28cm in diameter (preferably non-stick).

grind the almonds finely in a food processor. beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a pale cream with an electric mixer, then beat in the orange and lemon zests and almond extract. add the ground almonds and mix very well.

with the cleaned mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the egg and almond mixture – the mixture is so thick that you need to turn it over quite a bit into the egg whites. grease a springform cake tin with butter and dust it with flour (i would line the base too), then pour in the cake mixture. put the cake into an oven preheated to 180c for 40 minutes or until it feels firm (check after 30 minutes). let it cool before turning out.

dust the top with icing sugar. if you like, cut the shape of a santiago cross out of paper and place it in the middle of the cake before dusting with icing sugar. then remove the paper shape.