By Metro Creative Connection

19-12-27 food column@ W.jpg

Tea time is a part of daily life in England and countries affiliated with the United Kingdom. But that does not mean residents of North America do not host afternoon guests from time to time. On such visits, it’s customary to offer coffee or tea and a light snack. Prospective hosts who want to offer something sweet and a little bit traditional can try this recipe for Rava tea cake with almond paste and rose water from Ruta Kahate’s “5 Spices, 50 Dishes” (Chronicle Books). Typically served at tea time in India, these cakes are often dipped in tea.

Rava tea cake

Serves 18.

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1    cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

1    cup coarse rava, sooji

or cream of wheat

(not quick cooking)

4    ounces almond paste,

cut into pieces (see note)

2    tablespoons rose water

1    tablespoon brandy

4    large eggs, separated

1/4 teaspoon cream

of tartar

Sliced fresh fruit,

such as bananas and strawberries

Confectioner’s sugar

for garnish

Whipped cream for garnish

Toasted slivered almonds for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch-square cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until creamy. Add the rava, almond paste, rose water and brandy, and continue beating until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks 1 at a time. After adding the last egg yolk, beat for an additional minute to develop structure.

In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. While beating, slowly add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff.

Add 1/4 of the stiff egg whites to the cake batter, and fold in with swift strokes. This will lighten the mixture. Now add the rest of the egg whites and fold in gently yet firmly, without deflating the mixture. Scrape into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top and bake in the center of the oven until golden brown all over and cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

 To serve it up as a dessert, place some fresh fruit alongside each serving, dust with a little confectioner’s sugar and garnish with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and some toasted slivered almonds.

Note: You could also use marzipan, but remember that marzipan typically has more sugar in it than plain almond paste.

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