Citrus custard cake

Greece, Cumbria and house 147Citrus custard cake is an invention. Like any good guest I wanted to take something when Rosie and Sue suggested we meet up at Rosie’s place before we returned to the UK. In my head was a citrus and almond cake – a standard easy recipe involving boiled citrus fruit, whizzed in the food processor with eggs, sugar and ground almonds. It appears on this blog somewhere and many of you have commented on how delicious and easy it is. Which is true.

As always when cooking in Spain there are some fundamental flaws in any plan you might have in your head, to replicate what you do at home. One: it’s just not cricket to do what you do at home. Two: fundamental ingredients are not in the stock cupboard. Three: there is so stock cupboard. Four: this means you have to walk into a shop and ask for what you need – in my case “donde estan milados almondes por favor”. Five: it is rare to find a springform cake tin. Six: it isn’t your oven so its bound to burn.

So, after a fruitless search in the Dia supermarket (where, to be fair, my question was faultlessly enunciated and the helpful assistant understood what I asked but replied “No. nosotros no vendemos eso aqui”) I returned with no almonds.

This recipe is therefore sin almonds, sin boiled oranges and sin sugar because there were no ground almonds to be had in Orgiva, I had used nearly all the sugar and the lemons in the lemonade I had made the day before and we had eaten all the oranges. So far, the plan for citrus almond cake was proving to be a poor one! But. I soldiered on and necessity being the mother of invention, I invented out of necessity. So here it is….. The citrus custard cake.

Use the sweetened pulp left over (about 200ml) from yesterday’s lemonade which is sitting in the bottom of the saucepan waiting for inspiration to strike. Instead of whizzing in the food processor, leave it in the pan and chop any large pieces of flesh into smaller pieces. Add 150ml local runny honey and half a jar of excellent local marmelada de najaranja dulce (marmalade).

Beat 5 large eggs in a dessert bowl until really frothy (the dessert bowl isn’t necessary, its just that in a holiday let there are rarely full sets of mixing bowls hanging around). Measure out 8 heaped tablespoons of flour (I it was plain flour). Sift the flour through a tea-strainer (no sieve) into the saucepan containing the pulp, marmelade and running honey. Add 50ml olive oil and then the eggs. Now beat like fury with a wooden spoon until you have what looks like a thick batter.

By now you will not be surprised to hear that there was no springform cake tin or greaseproof paper so I greased the dish with more olive oil and dusted with flour. thickly sliced some lemons and placed in the bottom of the dish with a little sugar and some sliced almonds then poured in the batter. It cooked in an unreliable gas oven at what said 5 but was probably 6 as I had to turn it down and put foil on top after half an hour. In the end it was in the oven for about 45 minutes.

imageIt smelled divine. It looked pretty good. I let it cool in the dish for about an hour then turned it out onto the grill rack. Bottom side up it looked even more impressive, revealing caramelised lemons and almonds. I drifted the remaining sugar about 3 teaspoons) over the top.

The surprising thing is that it looked just like it was made with ground almonds until it was cut. What was revealed was a cooked custard spiked with lemons and oranges and it tasted pretty good. Nothing like citrus almond cake, I have to say, but pretty darned good. And I was not in the least bit ashamed to present it for consumption at Rosie’s place.

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