I rarely read a cookbook from cover to cover. In fact, Platter of Figs by David Tanis may be the only cookbook I devoured like a novel. Between the artistry of Tanis' delectable menus and Christopher Hirsheimer's gorgeous photographs, I couldn't put the book down.
Tanis' Hazelnut Cake is simple and versatile. The roasted nuts provide a depth of flavor, yet the cake is surprisingly light. I cannot help but take a dessert to a decadent level, so I enjoyed the cake most when when I doused it with a splash of rum and slathered it with sweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Tanis also recommends using the cake as a base for tiramisu - this I must try.
On a healthier note, the cake itself is actually rich in protein and relatively low in sugar so we don't feel indulgent eating a leftover slice for breakfast with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit.
from David Tanis' Platter of Figs
- 1 pound shelled hazelnuts
- 8 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- grated zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons cake flour (GF folks, I use Pamela's bread and flour blend)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400. Place hazelnuts in hot oven for about 10 minutes until nuts are lightly toasted and the skins are blistered. Remove from oven and put nuts in a dish towel. Rub to remove skins.
Turn oven down to 350.
Coarsely grind nuts in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
In a standing mixer, blend egg yokes and sugar until creamy. Then add juice and zest from one lemon. (At this point the aroma of the lemon and the roasted nuts is incredible!) Also, add salt, flour, and chopped nuts to the mix and blend all ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff. Add 1/3 of whites to the nut mixture and blend. Finally, gently fold the remaining 2/3s of the egg whites into the batter.
Line the bottom of a 10 inch spring-form pan with a round of parchment, or butter and flour the cake pan. Pour in batter and place in 350 oven for 15 minutes.
Turn oven down to 325 and bake another 25 minutes or so. A toothpick inserted into the cake will come out clean when the cake is done.
Let cake cool completely on a rack before removing from the pan.
While the recipe is not difficult, I seemed to use every utensil in the kitchen and made a huge mess...