The Tart at the End of the Camino
An almond cake, revered all over Spain, awaits at the end of any Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Galicia, Northwest Spain. It can be bought in the many bakeries in the center of the city near the Cathedral, the end of the route, with a striking cross dusted on it.
Photo: Blanca Valencia
“An almond cake awaits at the end of any Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Galicia, Northwest Spain."
I love putting this traditional cake from Galicia inside a tart shell (like some Spanish bakeries do) with quince (like Moro restaurant in London) but feel free to omit both. You can bake the cake on its own (it is just a mixture of eggs, ground almonds and sugar) and it will be just as nice. I personally love to use Marcona almonds but I know they can be pricey. You can get the stencil for the cross here.
In this cake, great almonds are de rigueur.
250 g. shortcrust pastry
200 g. caster sugar
200 g. ground almonds
1 orange, zested
250 g. of membrillo or quince paste, chopped
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Roll pastry out and line a 20-22 cm. springform tin or quiche tin with not too short sides.
Prick bottom with a fork.
Put parchment paper over the tart and fill with baking beans.
Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Remove baking beans (be careful they get very hot!) and bake for another 5 minutes until the pastry starts to get a a little colour.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
In a small pan put quince and mix with a little water and heat through until you get a spreadable consistency.
Spread over bottom of tart.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs lightly.
In a larger bowl, mix ground almonds, zest and sugar and add the eggs gradually. The consistency should not be too dry.
Pour into pastry shell.
Bake in an oven for 25 minutes at 180 degrees.
Cool on a wire rack.
When cool put your Santiago cross stencil and dust with icing sugar.
Variations & Ways of Serving
You can substitute the membrillo/quince paste for any other jam or marmalade. Add cinnamon to the cake if you wish. I do this if the almonds are less than stellar, but if you source great almonds, let their flavor shine through.
I love this cake with a Pedro Ximenez sherry as part of an afternoon tea or coffee party. A really strong cafe negro's bitterness will offset the sweetness of the cake and an oolong tea, like rou gui or da hong pao will enhance the notes of the almonds.
Have you made Blanca's Santiago Tart? Have you eaten it? Do you have your own recipe? Please let us know!