Tarata de Santiago is a traditional Spanish (Galician) almond cake (pie), it takes its origin from Camino de Santiago, a famous medieval network of pilgrims’ ways that leads to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. It was an important Christian pilgrimage route during the Middle Ages and it still is.
It is a simple but very flavourful and delicious cake. The filling consists of ground almonds (almond flour), eggs, and sugar, with additional flavouring of lemon zest, herbal liquor, brandy, or similar strong alcohol, depending on the recipe. Traditionally it has a round shape and can be made with or without a base which can be either shortcrust or puff pastry. The top of the cake is usually decorated with sifted powdered sugar, masked by an imprint of the Cross of Santiago (Saint James) which gives the pie its name.
Here we have a typical and quick recipe for this delicious pastry.
Ingredients for the almond batter:
- 200 g almond flour (ground almonds)
- 150 g white sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temperature, large
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- zest of 1 lemon (and 1 orange – optional)
- 50 ml of liquor
- powdered sugar (for decoration)
- vanilla essence (optional)
- Preheat an oven to 180°C (356°F)
Lightly grease the interior of a baking mold with butter, and line it with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine the eggs and sugar, and beat until the mixture is foamy and lightens the colour.
- Add lemon zest, liquor, and cinnamon, and mix until combined.
- Add half of the ground almonds and mix until incorporated. Then add another half of the almonds. Mix well.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking mold (I used a round tart mold, d=22 cm) and spread it out evenly.
- Bake for around 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and baked, you may need to cover the top of the cake with an aluminum folie during the last 10 minutes of baking time, so it doesn’t burn.
- Let the cake cool to room temperature and then de-mold it carefully.
Use a stencil to make the shape of Santiago cross on top. Place the cutout on the top and dust with powdered sugar. When totally covered, carefully remove the stencil.
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