Monday, August 18, 2014

Citrus Syrup Tea Cakes

I have always thought that citrus was a summer fruit-with the exception of oranges. Oranges are available year round.  The sweeter of the orange family, the clementines, are actually a winter fruit. However, the tropical regions have a different seasonality.

The food industry can be tricky when it comes to getting ingredients.   The name of something may just mean the flavor, not the real thing.  Bacon bits are a good example.  As far as fruit, I am always reading that some type fruit is being presented as another. Today's recipe lists clementines as the major flavor ingredient.  At the grocers I found a box under the produce rack that said clementines. Inside the box were smaller containers, labeled sweet snack.  In the end, they were listed as mandarins on the receipt.  Apparently in Chile, the seasonality of these fruits has one on its way out of season while the other is just coming in season.

This recipe has a limited amount of ingredients, it has no butter, oil or milk. These cakes were dense and nutty, perfect for soaking up the tangy syrup drizzled on top. Most of the cake type of recipes in this book create heavier baked goods, which are a better to serve with tea.  They do not crumble and are great for dunking .  The method of preparation is unique-every part of the fruit is utilized, except for the seeds. Almonds may not be the first item that comes to mind when pairing with sweet clementines, but the combination does get a thumbs up in my book.

Be sure to plan in advance on this one, there is a 2 hour simmer of the clementines prior to mixing and baking.  This recipe makes 1 dz tea cakes.

Citrus Syrup Teacakes
Adapted from the Perfect Afternoon Tea recipe book

2 cups ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup sugar
3 clementines
6 eggs

Ingredients/Syrup Topping
juice of 3/4 lemon
1 clementine rind, pith removed and cut into strips
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup and 2 tbs of water

Prepare a muffin tin by lining the cavities with cupcake papers.

Bring a saucepan full of water to a boil.  Slowly drop in all the whole unpeeled clementines.  Let boil for 2 minutes and reduce to a simmer.  Let simmer for 2 hours and remove from heat.  This process aids in reducing bitterness and softens the fruit.  Remove fruit from water and let cool.

Once the fruit has cooled, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Cut the clementines in half and remove any seeds.  Place the halves in a food processor or a blender.  Process or blend the fruit until it becomes a puree.  Set aside.

Put eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat on low speed until foamy.  Fold in the ground almonds and then the puree.  Pour the mixture into the 12 cupcake cavities, making sure they are filled evenly.  Place pan in oven and let bake for 30-35 minutes.  The top center of the cakes should be set but there will be no browning on the edges of the cupcakes. Remove pan from oven.

Let cupcakes cool in pan for 2 minutes, and then transfer to rack to finish cooling.  During this time, prepare the citrus syrup.  Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Then add the lemon juice and strips of rind.  Bring to a boil.  Once it reaches that point, turn heat down and let the mixture simmer for about 2-3 minutes.  It should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Once the cakes are cooled, drizzle the syrup over the top.  Each cake should have about 1 tablespoon of syrup on top.
                                           **LAST YEAR: Blondie Pie*