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Because in food I trust. In all forms and shapes. 

Countryside cake

Countryside cake

I have this cake that my mother used to make every Friday. It was with simple butter (long ago when butter was hard to get, it was margarine), a flour and egg base, topped with seasonal fruits or berries or in wintertime apples and pears from compote, and topped with whipped egg whites. When the cake was done, it had to rest and cool, which always took place on our old, old piano where no wind could harm it. I did not bake this cake for a long time, until I had to make it for my third book and until I went to our friends’ country home and we heated up their wood burning oven. I just wanted to make something special, and nothing is more special than a childhood cake. I made it with kids, still in their pajamas, mixing the dough outside in the apple orchard. But the result, due to the excess amount of sugar that accidentally “fell in”, made the meringue different. And I liked it. I returned there exactly 2 years later and decided to make this cake. I made five of them. I love the first one, with a gooey and runny middle, but not everyone liked it, so I made this one – everyone’s favorite. Moist and sweet with a touch of sourness (thanks to the berries).

Ingredients

400 g different more sour than sweet berries*

for the base:
4 egg yolks
130 g Demerara sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
130 g melted and cooled butter
180 g wholegrain wheat flour (medium coarse)
60 g wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1/2 organic orange
5 cardamom pods, seeds crushed
pinch of sea salt

for meringue:
4 egg whites
80 g Demerara sugar
120 g white sugar
25 g cornstarch
pinch of sea salt
zest of 1/2 organic orange

Prepare

Heat oven to 190◦ and line 20 x 30 cm baking pan with baking paper.

Whisk egg yolks with vanilla and sugar for 7 minutes, until they have doubled in volume and are pale white. Lower the speed to medium and slowly (in 3 parts) add butter, incorporating well after each addition. Then slowly add the flour with baking powder, salt, cardamom, zest, and mix. Put the dough into the pan, level it, and sprinkle the berries over. Put it the oven, one level below the middle, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl mix both sugars and cornstarch. In another bigger bowl, start mixing the egg whites with a pinch of salt. When it starts to get foamy, add the sugar mixture and keep whipping for 7-9 minutes, until the meringue is glossy and stiff. Somewhere in the middle of whipping, add orange zest.

Take the cake out of the oven, spoon over the meringue, level it and put the cake back in the oven for 35 minutes more. If the meringue starts to get too brown, put foil over the top. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then take it out and cool on a wire rack.

 

* During the winter, I use thawed frozen berries, during summer – fresh. I like to use red currants mixed with raspberries and blueberries. Or plums with some sour apples, or just raspberries. Anyway, I like to use a mixture of sour and sweet berries, since it gives that great contrast with the sweet meringue.

Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s

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