Do you find yourself inexplicably drawn to tables of leafy greens or crates of winter squash? Do brussels sprouts on the stem raise your heart rate? Do bowls of heirloom apples and quince and Meyer lemons cover most of the surfaces in your kitchen? Do you ever unload your canvas bag after a trip to the market and not even remember buying that big bag of carrots or yet another bunch of radishes? Have you been known to secretly "borrow" fruits from a neighbor's tree?
For the almond flour in this recipe, you can either buy it (Red Mill makes a good one) already made, or make your own. To make it yourself, buy blanched almonds (10 oz) and toast them until very lightly browned. Let them cool, and then grind, along with the sugar in the recipe until they are a fine powder (but not a paste).
You can use any kind of sweet winter squash in this recipe. I used delicata, but kabocha, butternut or any of the pumpkin varieties would work just as well. You want about 1 cup of roasted squash from whatever variety you are using. That will mean about 2 regular sized delicatas or kabochas, one butternut, one carving sized pumpkin, or three or so of the mini varieties. It's best to roast more than you think you'll need... if you have a bit of roasted squash left over, just drizzle it with some syrup, butter and a sprinkle of salt and dig in!
1 - 3 winter squashes, about 3 pounds 1 t butter or vegetable oil 10 oz almond flour 3/4 c all-purpose flour 1 T baking powder 1/2 t finely grated lemon zest 1 1/2 c granulated sugar Salt 3 large carrots (10 ounces) 3 large eggs, separated poached quince (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare your squash by cutting them in half, and scooping out the seeds. Light coat them in butter or oil, and place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until very soft, 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of the squash. Let cool, and scoop out the roasted pumpkin.
Line a loaf pan (or several mini loaf pans) with parchment (a swipe of butter in the pan will help the parchment stick).
In a large mixing bowl, using a fork, blend both flours with the baking powder, lemon zest, sugar and a pinch of salt.
Finely grate the carrots in a food processor or with a box grater and add them to the flour mixture.
In a blender or food processor, puree about 1 cup of squash until smooth. Then, blend in the egg yolks. Add this to the flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to loosen it, then gently fold in the remaining whites until the batter is just blended.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Line the top with the poached quince slices and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is just set. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool slightly in the pan. Unmold the cake onto a serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Simple Poached Quince
This recipe (and the quince garnish on these tea cakes) was inspired by this wonderful spiced-quince brown butter cake recipe on Chefs Gone Wild... a recent discovery that is packed with some amazing sounding recipes.
3 quince, peeled, cored, and each cut into 16 slices 3/4 cups sugar 1 whole clove 1 cinnamon stick 2 star anise orange peel from one orange 10 or so peppercorns (of the color of your choice. I used red) 3 cups water
Add all the ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, and simmer for about an hour, checking on the fruit every so often to make sure it is still submerged in the liquid and not getting overly mushy. Once the quince is fork tender, turn off the heat and let it cool to room temperature in the poaching liquid. You can use the quince with the liquid over ice cream (yum), or drain it and gently dry the quince with a towel (paper or otherwise) for use on the tea cake.