I own a slew of cook books, but there are 2 that I keep opening. Of course the first one is the Bible, Julia’ Child’s Art of French Cooking and the second, my other favorite cuisine, a mix of Mediterranean flavors, and I’m sure you’ve heard it all over the inter-webs, Jerusalem.
I’ve cooked about 5 recipes from his book and every single one has been flawless! Fish cakes simmered in tomato sauce…make it! Lamb shwarma with fenugreek, cinnamon and spices? Ah-mazing! And the roasted sweet potatoes with tahini has been a a constant staple! The photos are incredible and eye-catching and beg you to read further. The aromatic spices used and the simple techniques make this one of my all time favorite books to cook from.
You might say what attracted me most to this recipe was instantly that pop of orange peel against the dark background. I could look at gorgeous food photography all day. It is an art really that I am constantly working on. (You should see my very first recipe photo…oy vey!)
I’ve modernized the recipe a bit but kept most of it the same. In the original recipe, clementines are used for the citrus but I had a pound of Meyer lemons from my neighbor that I couldn’t wait to use. They are sweeter than conventional lemons, so why not right? And after some review reading, I’ve heard the best almonds to use are blanched and slivered without skins, which will make it a much lighter crumb overall. Also, don’t be shy the the peel..use it and use it all and take in that glorious lemon aroma.
- 14 Tb unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 Meyer lemons zested
- 2 1/2 cups blanched and slivered almonds chopped finely in food professor
- 5 eggs room temperature
- 3/4 + 1Tb flour sifted
- 1 vanilla bean split open and seeds scraped (this was a personal touch)
- Pinch fo salt
- 1/3 cup water
- Vanilla pod leftover after scraping seeds out
- 6 Tb sugar
- 4 Meyer lemons juiced (same lemons that were zested equal to about 3/4 cup of juice)
- Thin strips of lemon peel
First make the cake, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter the inside of a 9inch springform pan (I used my cheesecake pan). Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit on the bottom.
Then in a stand mixer, add the butter, sugar, lemon zest and seeds from the vanilla bean and beat until mixed well and combined. Then add about half of the ground almonds and continue to mix to combine. Then add the eggs, one at a time until well combined. The add the rest of the ground almond, the flour and salt and continue mixing until everything is incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom.
Pour mixture into prepatred pan and use the spatula to smooth the top of the cake and bake at 350 degrees F for about 40-45 minutes.
*Note: At 30 minutes it was starting to brown so I placed foil on top and continued baking.
As the cake bakes, make the syrup. IN a small pot add the Meyer lemon juice, vanilla bean pod, sugar and water and bring to a boil and then down to a simmer until syrup thickens slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and allow to cool.
When cake is done, remove from oven and use a fork to gently prick the top of the cake all over (I actually used a met tenderizer since the prongs are thinner) and use a pastry brush to brush syrup allover warm cake.
Allow cake to cool before removing springform pan and garnish with more lemon peel.
Adapted with some personal touches from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi