Today I have a very special guest…Helen Fletcher; The Ardent Cook.   I hope you all enjoy this lovely presentation that she is sharing with us today.  Thank you Helen!


Orange Almond Teacake is a simple, easy to make treat that can be made in either a food processor or mixer.  I prefer the food processor for the speed it offers and the ease of combining the sugar and almond paste.
Ingredients are as follows:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons almond paste, packed tightly (290 grams or 10 1/4 ounces)
1 cup +1 tablespoon sugar (215 grams or 7 1/2 ounces)
2/3 cup butter, softened (140 grams or 5 ounces or 1 1/4 sticks)
4 eggs
1/2 cup +2 tablespoons flour (85 grams or 3 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Zest from 1 large orange

The main ingredient in this recipe is the almond paste which gives it a very distinct flavor and is used in European pastries. It is made with ground almonds, sugar and glycerin or other liquid and is flavored with almond extract which is made from bitter almonds. It should not be confused with marzipan, which is similar but sweeter and bound with egg whites. Marzipan is used in decorations and can be rolled out and applied to cakes is used. Almond paste is used as an ingredient whereas marzipan is a final product. 


Getting the paste out of the can can be challenging!  The easiest way is to remove the top and the bottom of the can.   Using the bottom, push the paste out of the can. 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Make sure if using dark or self releasing pans, the temperature of the oven is reduced by 25 degrees).  Line the bottom of a 9×2 inch round baking pan with parchment; spray the paper and the sides of the pan.
Directions for Processor Method:
Place the almond paste and sugar in the processor bowl. 
Process until mealy. 
Add the butter.
 
Process until mixed.
Add all the eggs at once.
Process until smooth. 
 
Lastly add the flour mixture and orange rind .
Process until completely combined. 
Pour into the prepared pan. 
Spread the batter evenly in the pan with an offset spatula.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes, release edges and remove from the pan.  Place on a rack, bottom side up to cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  
Yield: 900 grams. 1 -9 inch single layer cake about 1 1/2 inches tall.  Mixer Method: Place the almond paste and sugar in a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle.  Beat until large crumbs form. Add the butter and beat until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. Combine the flour, baking powder and orange zest, whisking to mix. Add all at once to the above and mix on low just until completely combined. Pour into the prepared pan and spread the batter as above then bake. 

 Orange Almond Madelienes
At the bakery, we used this batter to make the Orange Almond Madelienes.  The Mads (as we referred to them) were used as a petit four.  A special mold is used for these.  The regular size mold contains 12 mads.
Over the years I have tried every known combination of ingredients to release the madelienes from their molds. The only one I have found that releases them on a consistent basis is Baker’s Joy (a combination of oil and flour in a spray can).  
Make the batter as above and transfer to a bowl. 
Spray the madeliene pan with Baker’s Joy.
Drop the batter using a tablespoon or a #60 disher.
Bake for 12 to 16 minutes until lightly browned on top.
It is important to remove the madelienes from their pans while they are still a bit warm or they will stick.  The easiest way to do this without breaking them is to simply use the tip of our fingers to slide them from their individual molds.  
To arrange the madelienes like a flower, place a row of madelienes around the outer edge of a small dessert plate. Continue arranging them inward.  Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

For a visual aid, see Strawberry Truffle Tart substituting the madelienes for the strawberries.  Yield: Approximately 56 Orange Almond Madelienes.  This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Flo Braker’s book “The Simple Art of Perfect Baking (1st Edition).  Her blog is www.flobraker.com.
 

This recipe will appear in my next book, “Essential Cakes”, however  “European Tarts, Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking”  is available now on Amazon.com, Kindle, iBooks and Nook. 

The recipes are based on the products sold from my bakery of 23 years!


About Helen:



From an early age, food was to be an important part of my life…Born into a European family, my heritage included a deep appreciation of
food although in my early years I didn’t care for it much.  My mother
told of the great lengths that were invoked to try to get me to eat –
anything.  However, after getting married, food became a major interest as I saw it
for its entertaining value.  As we entertained frequently and I cooked
more, it became a primary interest in my life to the point that I was
writing for newspapers and magazines such as Bon Appetit, Chocolatier,
and The Pleasures of Cooking as well as The St Louis Post Dispatch and
Kansas City Star newspapers.  A book, The New Pastry Cook soon followed. 
A consulting stint with Cuisinarts assisting them in developing
techniques for pastry making using the food processor was followed by
travel teaching which found me jaunting from city to city teaching my
new and updated methods of working with pastry.
 
In 1987 I opened my bakery, Truffes, Inc. which supplied upscale,
wholesale pastries and desserts to hotels, restaurants and caterers.
Hand made in small batches to ensure consistency and quality, these
pastries have not varied from that value to this day in over 20 years. 
Soon after opening, wedding and specialty cakes were added. Our website,
www.gooeychocolate.com features well over 150 photographs.  In 2001 I
opened the retail arm of the businesss  featuring upscale take out food,
soups, appetizers, catering and of, course, our very special pastries. 
In 2007, I returned to the bakery and am active in it to this day.
 
However, the lure of writing never left me – I only lacked the time to
pursue it.  With a full time staff that allows me this time, I have
returned to my first love – writing about food.  My husband, a
professional freelance photographer, adds another dimension to my
writing by providing the magazine quality photographs that assist the
cook and show off the final presentation.

I hope you all enjoyed this post…
  I greatly appreciate Helen taking the time to share!