When you visit Santiago, be sure you leave room for dessert, because you don’t want to miss the famous treat that takes its name from the St. James cross that adorns it.
The Tarta de Santiago is a delicious almond cake that you will see displayed in bakery and restaurant windows throughout the city, and should be on every visitors’ gastronomic “must try” list during their stay. The recipe for the cake dates back to the 16th C. and traditionally is made with exact proportions of Mediterranean almonds, sugar, and eggs.
Pasteleria Casa Mora, located a short walk from the Cathedral at Rúa do Vilar 34-60, is known for being the first pastry shop to adorn the cake with the Cross of St. James in 1924, and some say they make the best Tarta de Santiago in town. We’ll let you be the judge! However, if you don’t feel like waiting for your next trip to Spain, why not try this recipe at home:
- 4 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ lb. (1 ¾ cup) of whole almonds
Zest from 1 lemon
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Finely ground the almonds in a food processor. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar to a smooth pale cream. By hand, beat in the lemon zest and ground almond, and mix very well. Grease a 9 inch springform pan with butter. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake in a pre-heated 350° oven for about 30 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Let cool and then take it out of the pan.
To decorate with the Cross of Santiago, print a cross on paper and cut it out to make a stencil. Place the cross stencil in the center of the cake and then dust the cake with the confectioner’s sugar until it is fully covered. Lift the cross stencil to reveal the design left on the cake.
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