Last week, I began my Ada Boni challenge. I chose to start with the Eritrea Tart because it seemed like a simple cake. I was very wrong to make this assumption. This first recipe opened me up to the challenges of baking from cookbooks published in the 1950s. My Eritrea Tart tastes and looks okay, but I did mess it up and it will hopefully be better the next time I make it and fix my mistake.
- 1 1/2 pounds shelled almonds
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 egg yolks
- 5 squares cooking chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups butter, creamed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon potato flour
- 6 egg whites, beaten stiff
Toast almonds, chop very fine and grind to powder. Add sugar and mix well. Add 1 egg and 4 egg yolks and blend into smooth paste. Melt chocolate over very low flame and add to creamed butter, mixing very well until thoroughly blended. Add to almond mixture. Add vanilla, potato flour and stiff egg whites and blend gently but thoroughly. Pour into a greased and floured fairly deep 12-inch cake pan. Bake in moderate oven (375oF.) 1 hour. Serves 12.
What went wrong
In 2020, as at-home bakers, we have a wider range of mass produced ingredients to choose from than bakers in the 1950s. This distinction had me leave out possibly four and a half cups of almond flour from my tart (oof, I know).
When I read the directions, I didn’t think I had the proper tools to turn almonds into “powder”. Instead of making my own flour, I bought already processed almond flour. I tried to calculate how many cups I would need rather than weighing out 1 1/2 pounds because I did not have a small scale.
I put 3 cups of almond flour in my Eritrea tart; that was about half of what I should have added. If you are a baker who weighs their ingredients, I would deeply appreciate any advice you can offer on a scale (that is reasonably priced for a broke college graduate).
After the almond flour fiasco, potato flour was my next conundrum. One of the first things I noticed when looking over the Eritrea Tart recipe was the lack of salt, baking soda, and baking powder. So what is the rising agent in the recipe?
The potato flour aka corn starch helps the cake rise.
Thankfully, the research on these two ingredients was straightforward. Potato flour, also referred to as potato starch is largely interchangeable with corn starch. In certain cases, potato starch and corn starch should not replace potato flour because the flour contains more flavor from its extra proteins, and fibers compared to the bland starches.
I replaced the potato flour with corn starch because I was not able to find the flour in the store. They are not the exact same flavor; however, the reactions they cause in baking are the same for equal amounts. In the recipe, Boni calls for 1 teaspoon of potato flour so I added 1 teaspoon of corn starch.
Lesson learned from Eritrea Tart: Suck it up and start weighing ingredients.
Overall, the Eritrea Tart tasted good and I am excited to try it again in the future to see what it is actually supposed to look and taste like!
My next Ada Boni recipe is “Bocca Di Dama” or “Lady’s Mouth” in English. It is a cake and includes some new twists like using a double boiler and candying orange peels…wish me luck!
I will be recording the baking process on my Instagram (@discover_with_deanna) at the end of this week. Give me a follow on WordPress (@discoverwithdeanna) or on Instagram to stay up to date with my Ada Boni baking series!
PSA: I know I said I would be comparing photos of my finished products to the most common on the internet; however, I could not find an Eritrea Tart. If anyone has made this recipe or one that is similar, I would love to hear your thoughts on my final product and your experience. Comment below!
I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend.