I have been feeling a bit nostalgic lately and I think it shows in my writing and the inspiration for my recipes...
Almonds remind me of my grandfather. I remember him sitting quietly on an aqua-colored stool we had at the bakery while he peeled kilos and kilos of blanched almonds. Both hands working at once, snapping the hot, blanched almonds between his fingers to remove the skin. Prune-like skin on his finger tips. I remember that clear as day.
This was done mostly around Christmas time to make marzipan and turron. The almonds arrived unshelled but with the skins still on them. They were quickly blanched in boiling water and placed on top of towels to drain while we peeled the skins off the almonds while they were still warm. This becomes an annual ritual and it is still done today.
My grandfather was a slim, meticulous and quiet man. Always liked to be surrounded by family. After all, my grandmother and he raised eight children. The bakery doors were always open and people would come and go all day long. Friends would pop in to say hello and move on with their days. My grandparents always welcomed everyone.
I grew up in the bakery. That’s where we would go after school, that’s where we spent our weekends but I never got to work alongside my grandfather. He started as an apprentice in the renowned patisserie Martina Zuricalday in Bilbao when he was 14 years old. He opened his shop in 1949 and he retired when I was still a child. I often times think how I would have loved to stand next to him and watch him do his craft. A true master. So this recipe is dedicated to the memory of my Aitite Angel who I adored with all my heart.
These cakes also known as pain de genes are made with pure almond paste, eggs and a lot of citrus zest. There’s barely any flour so they are leavened by the air incorporated into the eggs. Very, very spongy and very, very citrus-y.
Of course I had to make some sorbet to go with it because it is scorching hot in Florida and since I had some grapefruit juice in the refrigerator, I thought I could make a sorbet with it and complete the citrus theme with a good finale. I used some of the sorbet to accompany the cake but I also piped some into shot glasses for a sorbet popsicle later on.
When you read through the sorbet recipe, I know many of you will just give up on me completely. Yes, I am using ingredients that are not available in the regular supermarkets. I apologize for that. I realize not everyone has access to these (I got them from L’Epicerie) but you must understand that this grapefruit recipe is the best one I have ever tried and so THIS one is the one I had to make. The atomized glucose which is powdered glucose, makes it completely creamy… hard to explain. There is no crystallization at all. For a conventional grapefuit sorbet recipe, you can use this one.
Lemon, Orange, Almond Pain de Genes
Makes a dozen savarins
200 grams almond paste (50% almond)
4 organic eggs
30 grams unbleached all purpose flour
3 grams baking powder
80 grams organic unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
In the bowl of a mixer, cream the almond paste, zest with 2 eggs (use paddle attachment at first). When this mixture has turned to a paste, add the rest of the eggs and switch to the whip attachment. Whip the almond paste and eggs to a ribbon (about 5 minutes). Add the flour and baking powder and mix. Add melted butter.
Place the batter in the refrigerator overnight. Place it pastey bag and pipe into savarin mold. bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Place water in a saucepan and heat slightly. Add the atomized gluzose, whisk and bring to a boil. Mix the sugar and the sorbet stabilizer in a bowl and add to the boiling syrup. Whisk and return syrup to a boil. Remove from heat.
Refrigerate the syrup for at least 4 hours. Add the grapefruit juice to the syrup and churn in ice cream machine. Freeze.
Candied Lemon Slices
50 grams sugar
50 grams water
Make a simple syrup with water and sugar. Cut the lemon into very thin slices, dip them in the cooled simple syrup and place them on a silicon mat. dry the lemon slices in a very low oven (about 200F) for about an hour. Store them in an air-tight container.
This dessert is my entry for this month’s Sugar High Friday which is a blogging event founded by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess and this month’s challenge is hosted by the lovely Helen of Tartelette.