Walnut cake is an excellent oriental dessert. That is, it is a recipe born centuries ago in the territory of the Ottoman Empire. Then it spread to the various regions of the empire. In particular, in modern times it is typical of the nations that were part of it. For example in the Arab states and Eastern Europe. Especially in Greece and Turkey it is a very popular dessert for tourists. That is, it is possible to eat it in the characteristic oriental sweets shops which in Greece are called sakaroplastia. In other words, they would be the Greek version of our pastry shops. But it is possible to taste this dessert in most oriental pastry shops.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ORIENTAL SWEETS
In other words, oriental cuisine has developed particular characteristics over the centuries. Moreover, the Western tourist who spends his holidays in the East realizes that oriental sweets are “very sweet”. In particular, the habit of abounding with sugar or honey among the ingredients of desserts derives from a question linked to a better preservation of food. In other words, sugary products, such as jams for example, are not very perishable. That is, this was a conservation technique developed over the centuries in the warm territories. In addition, the strongly sweet taste of oriental pastry products is a very appreciated particular characteristic of them.
Dried fruit is also very present among the dessert recipes in the East. In particular, those who love cooking and have tried to prepare a Greek, Turkish or Arabic dessert know that often among the ingredients there is dried fruit. That is, one of the main ingredients is frequently walnuts, almonds or pistachios. In other words, they were all products originating in Arab countries, Turkey or Persia. Then the cuisine of those peoples developed fantastic desserts such as the excellent walnut cake. In particular, it is a very tasty and simple dessert. That is, those who love sweets or even simply good food will be enchanted by this recipe.
TIPS FOR SERVING THIS CAKE ON THE TABLE
In particular, it is an excellent oriental dessert both in summer and in winter. Even in summer this dessert can be very appreciated. But I would recommend eating it in slightly smaller portions in hot weather. Plus it’s great for the winter. Then presenting this preparation to your guests will allow you to make a good impression. It can be served to guests on a plate next to a dollop of whipped cream. In addition, you could decorate the plate with the walnut cake with a cucciaita of black cherry jam to be placed next to the dessert.
LIQUEURS SUITABLE FOR THIS CAKE
Walnut cake is an excellent dessert and the ideal pairing would be with a bitter liqueur. For instance. in Italy I would serve a slice of this cake next to a glass of excellent “Amaretto di Saronno” liqueur. In particular, the taste of the bitter liqueur enhances the flavor of this type of cake. Then the bitter liqueur, in this case, has another merit. That is, to use a simple term, I can say that it washes the taste buds between bites. In other words, sipping this liqueur from time to time avoids saturation of the taste buds that perceive the sweet taste. Similarly, there is a physiological phenomenon linked to the perception of flavors that the gourmet must take into account.
That is, stimulating the taste buds for a long time with a very sweet taste weakens the perception. In other words, a strong stimulus of sugary flavors after a while momentarily reduces the complete perception of the sweet. That is, the bitter liqueur washes the taste buds and allows you to return to savor the cake in the best possible way.
RECIPE OF WALNUT CAKE
Walnut cake is an excellent and very famous cake. In eastern countries the preparation of these sweets still takes place according to tradition. That is, it is customary not to dose the ingredients using a scale. For example, it is typical of oriental cuisine to use the cup as a dispenser. That is, each ingredient is added to the dough in the amount of one, two or three cups. In other words, this traditional method is very practical and useful. However, in this way the proportions between the ingredients are always preserved.
The typical recipe for the walnut cake is as follows: 1 CUP OF SUGAR 1 CUP OF MILK 1/2 CUP OF BUTTER 2 CUPS OF CRUSHED WALNUTS CINNAMON AND CLOUDS IN POWDER 1 AND 1/2 CUP OF MINCED TOAST 1 CUP AND 1/2 OF FLOUR 5 EGGS 1 SPOON OF BICARBONATE 3 SPOONS OF YEAST FOR CAKES 2 SPOONS OF COGNAC. Then you should prepare the syrup with which you will have to wet the cake after taking it out of the oven. That is, the ingredients for the syrup are as follows: 3 CUPS OF SUGAR 2 CUPS OF WATER 1 SPOON OF LEMON JUICE.
Put the butter in a bowl and mix vigorously. Then add the sugar and eggs as well. In addition, mix with a large spoon until the mixture has reached a homogeneous consistency. In addition, previously you have to break the nuts to extract the edible part. That is the kernel. Then we grind them in a mortar. In other words, the grinding should not be such as to create a fine nut flour. Especially in the prientali sweets there is the characteristic that walnuts, pistachios or almonds are present in very coarse pieces. That is clearly visible and perceptible during chewing.
Then mix the chopped walnuts with cinnamon and cloves as evenly as possible. In addition, oriental recipes are unclear as to the amount of these two spices to use. That is, the decision is left to the personal taste of the cook who will decide based on his preferences. Then we dissolve the baking soda in the cognac and mix well. Finally we pour the liquid into the mixture of nuts and spices. In addition we also combine toast, flour and yeast. We mix very well and pour the mixture into a greased pan sprinkled with flour. Finally it is cooked in a high oven for about an hour. So, when the cake is ready, I take it out of the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the boiling cake. Finally you can serve it on the table presenting it as an excellent oriental dessert.
UNDERSTAND WHEN THE COOKING IS COMPLETE
Then, when preparing this type of desserts, it is important to understand when the cooking is complete. That is, a very simple and effective technique must be used. In particular, you must have a toothpick. Then, when I want to check the cooking, I will dip the toothpick in the cooked dough. In other words, the baking of the cake will be complete when the toothpick comes out of the cake completely dry.
doc. Massimiliano Mangafà