A Slice of Serendipity [Andalucian Orange Almond Torte]

SONY DSCNestled among the peaks and valleys of Spain’s mountain regions lie beautiful “pueblos blancos”, white towns. With steep and narrow cobble stoned streets, these towns are persuasive arguments for packing light — you don’t want to roll a heavy suitcase up these parts.

Hiking in Grazalema
Hiking in Grazalema

During my parents’ visit to Spain we drove out to the mountains for part of our long weekend. Our first stop was la Sierra de Grazalema, where we hiked, ate, relaxed, and wandered the old white washed streets.

Grazalema on a moonlit night
Grazalema on a moonlit night

Ronda, just a short drive away, is known for having the oldest bullring in Spain (Hemingway and Orwell were frequent visitors), as well as a jaw dropping bridge connecting the centre of the beautiful city.SONY DSC SONY DSC

Our last last stop that weekend was supposed to be Cadiz on the way back to Huelva. But my Dad, who did all the legwork and planning for our trip, made a little mistake (don’t worry, he said it was alright if I shared his little mix up!). Not realizing that there was both a Cadiz city and a Cadiz province, Dad booked for us online “the number one bed and breakfast in Cadiz”. This ended up meaning the number one B&B in the province, and not the city like Dad thought. Luckily he double checked the address the morning we were heading to our B&B and discovered that it was actually in the tiny town of Vejer de la Frontera. Oops!

Knockers in Vejer.
Knockers in Vejer.

I went online to see what kind of stuff there was going on in Vejer and came across ‘Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen’, a cooking, eating, and Andalucian food workshop. I figured there wasn’t much chance that we’d be able to participate in any of her classes since we were going to be arriving that same day and were only staying one night, but just in case I left a phone message for Annie seeing if there was anything we could join on to.

That evening while we were sipping our mint tea as the sun set, Annie called me back apologizing that she hadn’t been able to fit us in to something that day, but if we liked, we were welcome to come see her kitchen that evening. Of course I wanted to check it out! It turned out that she was only two doors down from our B&B ( the best one in Cadiz, remember?) and so we popped by before dinner that night. Annie was very kind and gave us a tour of her kitchen and home as we chatted and sipped on regional sherry. She had just finished a three day workshop on Andalucian and Moroccan cuisine, and gave me the recipes from the weekend. It was so lovely to meet Annie and if I am ever back in Vejer I know what I will be looking to do!SONY DSC

Of course, I couldn’t wait to try one of my newly acquired recipes and this Andalucian torte jumped out a me. Boiling a whole orange? Then blending the whole thing?? It seemed really weird to me at first, but it definitely worked. The torte is dense and moist, and when you taste it it becomes clear why throwing a whole orange in there is a great idea. My roommate has declared that this is her favourite dessert that I have made (so far!) — we have a date this weekend so that she can learn to make it for her boyfriend’s family for Christmas. It’s that tasty!

(Also, in case you were wondering, the B&B was very nice and we had a great day in Vejer! A happy accident, for sure.)SONY DSC
Andalucian Orange & Almond Torte, from Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen

1 large orange
3 medium eggs
170g sugar
250g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder

Put the orange in a small pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for at least an hour.
Remove from heat and cool in water overnight.
Parchment line an 8 inch spring form cake tin.  It can be larger, just watch the cooking time and if it’s browning too quickly on top turn down the heat.
Halve the orange, remove the pips and whiz to a smooth paste (inc peel).
Whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale, fold in the almonds, the orange puree and baking powder.
Pour into the tin and bake at 170c for 35-40 minutes (depending on oven) til a skewer comes out clean.
Let cool.
Serve with creme fraiche or greek yogurt.

Thank you Annie!

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