Tuesday, December 30, 2014

a lot of cooking but little posting

Christmas season is a season for me doing things i am not used to doing...
baking particularly, but also some of the main proteins.
I have made some mistakes - like drying out a meat because i was cooking something else that needed a higher temperature than i needed to cook the meat at...gravy fixed that, but back to baking..

my favorite and easiest recipe is something i can not imagine doing without modern tools, like electric mixers, yet my mom learned this from family who did just that and i do not think i would want to arm wrestle them!

I have adopted the basic idea of this recipe to things like corn bread because the flour used is not what sticks this cake together!


Greek nut cake

8 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice (though nutmeg can be used, it is not traditional)
1 teaspoon finely diced orange peel (zest)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter (to acidify the eggs, they whip better)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 cups chopped or ground hazelnuts (i like hazelnuts, but walnuts can be used)

after baking, the cake can be soaked with a syrup which needs the following:
1/2 cup sugar
1 whole orange (minus the zest used in the cake and without the rind, which is bitter)
1/4 cup honey
1 cup water
Greeks generally use 1/2 cup of fortified wine (sherry or port), but it is an option
this is reduced by 1/4 volume and then strained and cooled, but kept slightly warm

making the cake
whisk the egg whites with the cream of tarter until stiff and then set aside
Whisk the egg yokes until thick then add the sugar and spices and continue to mix
separately, mix the flour, salt and baking powder
If using an electric mixer, change to a paddle and mix in the flour
remove from the mixer and fold in the egg whites (you must fold it!)
Fold in the nuts
Pour into a 9 x 12 greased cake pan
cook at 350 F for 40 minutes
Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes
the cake may be topped with the syrup or dust it with powdered sugar
serve cool