Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Honey Almond Cakes

Most successful businesses start with a person that has a clear idea of what they want and go for it.  I sometimes run across blogs in which the writer asks their readers what should they post about next.  That person probably will end up in the statistics of bloggers that quit after 2 years because they have no idea of what information they want in their blog.

Yes, there are many stories about how someone with very little income became very wealthy in a short amount of time. Most of those people are risk takers with a lot of drive and a positive attitude.

This recipe comes from one such person, Chef Mark Vetri. To date, he has three restaurants in Philadelphia and they are all doing quite well. He grew up in south Philly and then spent a few years at a University.  Then he scraped up a couple hundred dollars and went off to Italy to train as a chef.  Once he arrived back, he opened his first restaurant in South Philly.

The recipe yields 6 individual cakes.  The cakes are quite delicious and since there is only 1/4 cup of sugar in the recipe, it is not overly sweet. The texture of the cake is very moist and dense, mainly due to the almond paste. Also, the warm pineapple sauce/zabaglione is a wonderful addition ladled over the top of the cake.

Honey Almond Cakes with Pineapple Zabaglione
adapted from Bon Appetit/Sept 2005

1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1-7 oz package almond paste (1 1/2 cup crumbled)
2 tbs Frangelica or Tuaca liqueur
2 tbs honey
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter (room temp)
3 eggs

3 egg yolks
3 tbs sugar
6 tbs pineapple juice concentrate
sliced toasted almonds (for sprinkling on top)

Prepare 6 (3/4 cup) ramekins or a jumbo size muffin tin (must have 6 3/4 cup holders) by brushing inside and top edges with butter.  Then place a small parchment round on the bottom of each holder and butter the face up side.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Using a food processor or mixer, pulse together sugar and almond paste.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, sift together flour and salt.  Set this bowl aside also.

Then get a medium size bowl and fill with butter and beat with electric mixer until smooth.  Continue to beat while adding liqueur, honey and almond mixture.  Once completely blended, beat in each egg, one at a time until all is combined and smooth.

Turn off the electric mixer and take out a wooden spoon. Pour the flour mixture into the batter and fold ingredients with spoon until no dry areas remain.  Divide batter equally into the ramekins or muffin pan.  Place in oven and bake until tester comes out clean.  For ramekins, the recipe states about 35 minutes.  I used the muffin tin and it took 25 minutes.  After baking, remove pan/ramekins and let cool for about 3 minutes.  Then turn cakes out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper from bottoms.

To prepare sauce, whisk together all ingredients in a saucepan except for toasted almonds.  Then place another pan filled with water over medium heat.  Let come to a boil and then turn down heat.  Put saucepan over the pan (like a double boiler) and whisk for a steady 7 minutes.  The mixture should go from a bright orange watery substance to a thicker,foamy lemon colored sauce.

To serve, pour warm sauce over upside down cakes (either warm or at room temp) and sprinkle with toasted almonds.