Torta di Santiago

The Whistler asked Stuart and Marc from the Kitchen Table at the Seven Dials to share some recipes with us…
torta di santiago
After receiving customer requests for gluten free cakes we began to look for inspiration from the shop’s cookbooks. It was amongst them in a book on the food of Spain and Portugal that Marc discovered ‘Torta di Santiago’, a flour-free cake from the famous town of pilgrimage. It is thought to date back hundreds of years, being first recorded in Santiago as far back as 1577 under the name, ‘Torta Real’. In 1924 a local baker, Jose Mora Soto, added the stencilled shape of the Santiago cross using icing sugar to distinguish it from other cakes and this may be how it established its name. The cake is made from almonds, something brought to Spain by the Moors over a 1000 years ago. Many recipes use whole almonds but here we use ground ones.

350g ground almonds
4 eggs
175g caster sugar
Grated zest of orange and lemon
Icing sugar to dust

Greased and lined cake tin
Whisk the eggs together until fluffy
Slowly add sugar whilst continuing to whisk until the mixture becomes stiff
Fold in ground almonds and zest until everything’s combined
Pour mixture into cake tin
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180° for 50 mins

While the cake is cooking (if you feel like it) cut a stencil of a cross out of card. When the torta is cool, place the card on top and sift the icing sugar over. Remove the stencil to disclose a cross.

This amount of ground almonds can make it quite an expensive cake so we came up with a variation that uses half almonds and half polenta.

Orange, Polenta and Almond Cake
2 oranges
3 eggs
200g sugar
150g ground almonds
150g polenta
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cover the orange with cold water in a saucepan and boil for 10 minutes
Allow to cool slightly, then chop into pieces.
Place in a food processor with sugar and eggs and blitz until the mixture becomes fluffy.
Fold in the polenta, almonds and baking powder
Pour into a greased and lined cake tin
Cook at 180° for 30 minutes

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