food

Marrakesh's Fall Colors: and a tale of baking Moroccan orange almond cake at Peacock Pavilions

Peacock Pavilions- Orange Almond Cake Recipe (MyMarrakesh, M.Montague)

Reds, orange, green and brown. As the colors of fall surround us, they also nourish us. What better on a crisp Moroccan fall afternoon than a little bite of orange almond cake? Earthy from the almonds, and sweet from the orange. Top it off with a dollop of chocolate, and, yummm..... 

(Note: stick along to the bottom and you'll find the recipe so you too can indulge in an afternoon treat)

Peacock Pavilions- Orange Almond Cake Recipe (MyMarrakesh, M.Montague)
Peacock Pavilions- Orange Almond Cake Recipe (MyMarrakesh, M.Montague)
Peacock Pavilions- Orange Almond Cake Recipe (MyMarrakesh, M.Montague)
Peacock Pavilions- Orange Almond Cake Recipe (MyMarrakesh, M.Montague)
Peacock Pavilions- Orange Almond Cake Recipe (MyMarrakesh, M.Montague)
Peacock Pavilions- Orange Almond Cake Recipe (MyMarrakesh, M.Montague)

Peacock Pavilions: Orange Almond Cake 

RECIPE: 

  • 3 large navel oranges (choose oranges with unblemished skins as the whole fruit is used in this recipe) 
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups, blanched, peeled and ground almonds
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, for garnish

Preheat oven to 355°F. Grease cups of a muffin tin

Place the whole oranges in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour (ensure oranges remain covered with water for the entire duration). Drain and cool. Chop the oranges into quarters, discard any seeds, then place the chunks into a blender and puree until smooth. 

Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add whole, raw almonds and blanch for precisely 1 minute. Drain almonds in a colander and rinse with cool water. Remove the loosened skin from each almond. Allow almonds to dry completely before grinding.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until thick, then add the orange puree, ground almonds, and baking powder. Mix well. 

Pour into prepared pan and bake until tops are golden and slightly crisp along the edges, approximately 20-25 minutes. Leave the cakes in the tin to firm up for about 20 minutes, then remove from tin to finish cooling. This cake definitely mellows with a little time and can be prepared up to a day in advance. 

When its time to serve, heat chocolate and cream together in a double boiler, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spoon a generous dollop to the top of each cake and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Serve immediately. 

P.S. This cake is very rich, so a little goes a long way, especially when served after a delicious dinner! 

 

Marrakech: and a tale of Geraldine's chic Moroccan picnic

Oh they were French.  But of course.  And so the invitation for a Moroccan pique-nique chic made perfect sense.  (The French do that sort of thing -- an ordinary old picnic simply won't do.) 

And so it was that we packed ourselves into the car and up up we went to the lake outside of Marrakech.  It was hot, oh very hot, but a cool breeze made it's way through the trees.  

And when we arrived....... a sea of Moroccan carpets greeted us, along with a vintage trunk filled to the brim with straw hats.   A hat for each  -- so thoughtful.

G2 trunk

We set our baskets down and aimed to stay for a good long while. 

G7 basket

Drinks were served from a bar covered with Moroccan tumblers.  Pretty, so pretty.

G1 wine

Soon there were platters of freshly prepared Moroccan good-ness.  We took our earthenware plates.....

G3 plates
and it was heaping after heaping.

G4 food
As for the Moroccan picnic ambiance.........?  Ooh-la-la, Geraldine outdid herself.......!

G6
Did I mention dessert?   Fruit slices and macarons, bien sur. 

G5 desert
Followed by lounging

G11 lounging
and the climbing of branches.....

G10 tree
One last macaron..........

G8 Julie holding little boy
And all then all the hats went back into the trunk........

G9 hats
On the drive back home we secretly wondered when we might next receive an invitation for a Moroccan pique-nique chic.......Perhaps you'd like to have one?  Please let it be soon..........

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PS I've left for Mali on assignment.  See you there:-)