Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Simnel Cake and Torte Di Riso

I recently discovered this recipe and story. I opted to write the recipe with 12 Marzipan Balls representing the 12 Apostles. I've read that many make this cake for Christmas too. I would probably serve it then. I included one of my favorite dessert recipes for any Holiday, Torte Di Riso.

Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top, that is toasted and eaten during the Easter period in the United Kingdom,  The Republic of Ireland and some other countries. It was originally made for the middle Sunday of Lent.
Conventionally eleven, or occasionally twelve, marzipan balls are used to decorate the cake, with a story that the balls represent the twelve apostles, minus Judas, or Jesus and the twelve apostles, minus Judas. This tradition developed late in the Victorian era, altering the mid Victorian tradition of decorating the cakes with preserved fruits and flowers.

Here's what you'll need:
1 8" Springform Pan , wrapped on the bottom and sides with double heavy duty foil.

1 C Butter, soft
1 C Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
1 3/4 C Self Rising Flour
1 1/3 C Golden Raisins
1  Dried Currents
2/3 Candied Cherries (rinsed , dried and quartered)
1/4 C Candied mixed Fruit Peel, chopped.
2 TBS grated Lemon Zest
2 tsp Mixed Spice
1 pound of Almond Paste
2 TBS Apricot Jam (warmed)
1 Egg, beaten

Preheat the Oven to 300 degrees.

In a Stand Mixer with a paddle attachment:
Brown Sugar
Mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy
Add Eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
Gradually add Flour.
Mix in:
Candied Cherries
Mixed Fruit
Lemon Zest
Mix well.

Pour half of the batter into the pan.
Divide the Almond Paste into 3 equal portions.
Roll out 1/3 of the Paste into an 8" circle, trim to size with an 8" cake pan as a template.
Place the circle over the first layer of batter.
Cover with remaining batter.
Bake for 2 1/2 hours , firm to the touch and golden brown.
If it begins to brown too soon, cover with a piece of foil after the first hour.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes.
Remove the cake from the pan and place on the cooling rack to cool completely.
Set the oven to Broil.

When the cake has cooled completely, brush with the Warm Apricot Jam.
Roll out another 8" circle of Almond Paste, trim to size and place over the Jam Glazed Cake.
Divide the remaining Paste into 12 pieces and form into 12 balls to represent the 12 Apostles.
Arrange them around the perimeter of the cake.
Brush the balls with the beaten Egg.
Place under the broiler for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Peace in the Kitchen!

This is one of my favorite desserts. It's is from my collection of the Best of the Best Recipes. I've been making this Torte since 1984. It's a great dessert for Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

Torte di Riso

1 quart (4 C) Whole Milk
1/2 C Italian Arborio Rice
1 C Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 C Raw Whole Almonds
1 TBS Sugar Water
6 Eggs
3 TBS Almond Liqueur
1 tsp Almond Extract
Additional Almond Liqueur

In a heavy saucepan, bring milk to a boil.
Stir in rice and mix well.
Blend in Sugar and Vanilla.
Reduce heat and simmer slowly, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool completely.

Preheat the broiler.
Arrange Almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle the Almonds with sugar and a few drops of water
Broil until caramelized.
Transfer to a food processor and chop coarsely.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Generously butter a 10" Quiche Pan (it fits perfectly).

Beat Eggs in a large bowl with Almond Liqueur and Almond Extract.
Add almonds and rice mixture and blend well.
Turn into the prepared pan.
Bake until the top is chestnut brown, about 1 hour.
Remove immediately and poke holes in the entire Torte with a toothpick and sprinkle generously with
additional Almond Liqueur.
Cut into wedges and cool completely before serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

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