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Toucinho do Ceu: Portuguese-Style Almond Cake

Home » Recipes » Toucinho do Ceu: Portuguese-Style Almond Cake

Toucinho do Ceu: Portuguese-Style Almond Cake

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Toucinho do Ceu

Chef Leticia Schwartz: This recipe was inspired by a visit to one of my favorite restaurants in Rio, called Antiquarius. It serves very traditional Portuguese food, and every time I go there I ask for Toucinho do Ceu -a classic Portuguese cake based on almonds and egg yolks.
Unlike most almond cakes which fall into the creamy batter category, this cake will surprise you with its technique: make a simple syrup and cook the ground almonds in the simple syrup. The rest is easy: just add eggs and egg yolks and you're done.
The result is a very moist almond cake, yet unknown in this country. It is good to serve as dessert or as a snack. It is easy to make and easy to travel. Hope you like it!

Ingredients:
½ cup water
1 ¼ cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 ¾ cup skinless ground almonds
4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 tsp almond extract (or Amaretto)
1 tsp orange zest, finely grated

Equipment:
One 10-inch round cake mold, with parchment paper on the bottom, buttered and floured

Procedure:
Pre-heat the oven to 300°F.
In a big sauce pan, boil together the water, sugar, and salt. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the ground almonds. Using a wooden spoon, keep mixing, over low-medium heat. Stir constantly until it starts to thicken, leaving a trace after the wooden spoon in a way that you should be able to see the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Do not over mix. You are looking for a soft almond paste.
Remove the pan from the heat and add butter cut into pieces. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
In a different bowl, lightly beat together the yolks and eggs.
Incorporate the egg mixture into the almond mixture with a spatula.
Add the amaretto and the orange zest.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 30- 35 minutes or until the cake is firm, and the center is not jiggly. The top should turn a medium golden brown. Let it cool inside the mold.
Remove from the mold, peel the parchment paper, and cut the cake into wedges. Serve at room temperature. For an extra touch, serve it with a Strawberry Rhubarb Compote and lightly sweetened Creme Fraiche.

Yield: about 8-10 people

Leticia's touch:
It is important to use a relatively big mold for the amount of batter. You want this cake to be short, about the height of a brownie.

February 7, 2008

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