A few days ago I was watching one of my favorite shows;
on the Road Again. The mini series features Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Claudia Bassols and Mark Bittman on a culinary road trip across Spain . What a dream! Please take me on the next one! Spain
Any who… this particular episode followed Batali and Bassols as they explored restaurants in
. They came across this little cafe named Can Joan de S’aigo -- known for their coffee and pastries. Can Joan de S’aigo has been around since 1700! Wowza…they must have done something right with those pastries! I fell in love with their tarta de almendras (almond cake) with lemon meringue topping. So I set out to make my own. Mallorca, Spain
Here they are. Enjoy!
1 1/3 cups (265g) sugar
8 ounces (225g) almond paste
3/4, plus 1/4 cup (140g total) flour
1 cup (8 ounces, 225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (162ºC). Grease a 9- or 10-inch (23-25 cm) cake or spring form pan with butter, dust it with flour and tap out any excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup (35g) of flour until the almond paste is finely ground and the mixture resembles sand.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup (105g) of flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Once the almond paste is completely broken up, add the cubes of butter and the vanilla and almond extracts, then process until the batter is very smooth and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, processing a bit before the next addition. (You may wish to open the machine and scrape the sides down to make sure the eggs are getting fully incorporated.)
After you add all the eggs, the mixture may look curdled. Don’t worry; it’ll come back together after the next step.
6. Add half the flour mixture and pulse the machine a few times, then add the rest, pulsing the machine until the drying ingredients are just incorporated, but do not over mix. (You can also transfer the batter to a bowl and mix the dry ingredients in, which ensures the dry ingredients get incorporated evenly and you don’t overbeat it.)
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 65 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set when you press in the center.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp or serrated knife around the perimeter, loosing the cake from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
Once cool, tap the cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper, and set on a cake plate until ready to serve. (Tip: Warm the bottom of the cake pan directly on the stovetop for just a few seconds, which will help the cake release.)
Lemon Meringue Topping
- 4 large egg whites
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch cream of tartar
- Pinch fine salt
For Meringue: Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a mixer's bowl above the water. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and zest, cream of tarter and salt in the bowl by hand. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until meringue is cool and holds stiff peaks, about 5-7 minutes.
To decorate: Using a spoon, offset spatula or piping bag, dollop, spread or pipe meringue on top of each cupcake. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks and valleys in the cupcake as desired.