Almond Cake with Berries

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Lidia Bastianich visits Jacques Pepin and together they celebrate Bastille Day in Lidia Celebrates America: Freedom & Independence on PBS.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

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Ingredients

  • For Cake Ingredients:
  • 4 ounces almond paste (⅓ cup tightly packed)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, with ½ teaspoon reserved to butter the cake pan
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Dash salt
  • 1 cup cake flour (5 to 6 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • For the Syrup:
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons whiskey, rum, or cognac
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • For the Garnish:
  • 1½ pounds berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and/or blackberries) or other available fruits (currants, diced dried peaches or diced dried apricots)
  • ½ cup good apricot jam, diluted with ⅔ cup water
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 1 cup sour cream or crème fraîche

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the almond paste, sugar, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor, and process for about 10 seconds.
  3. Add the salt, eggs, and milk, and process for 5 seconds.
  4. Add the flour and the baking powder and process for another 5 to 10 seconds, or until smooth.
  5. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep) with the reserved ½ teaspoon butter.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the pan, and bake for 45 minutes. Cool on a rack. The cake can be wrapped and frozen at this point, if you like.
  7. At serving time, place the cake on a serving platter.
  8. Combine the syrup ingredients in a small bowl.
  9. Using a spoon or pastry brush, moisten the cake with the syrup.
  10. Scatter the berries on top of and around the cake.
  11. Spoon on the diluted apricot jam and garnish with the mint leaves.
  12. Serve with the crème fraîche or sour cream.

Tips/Techniques

This recipe is from Jacques Pepin's FAST FOOD MY WAY, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers, 2004: This food processor cake is moist and tender. Before serving, the cake is brushed with whiskey-laced syrup, then covered with jam-flavored fruit, and served with sour cream or crème fraîche. Almond paste is available in most supermarkets in 8-ounce cans or cylinders. You can make the cake early in the day. Or make several cakes and wrap them well for the freezer. Defrost, still in their wrappings, in the refrigerator.