WEEK 12 – SERBIA
Torta Praska – Apricot Layer Cake
Hi everyone it’s Roma here, so last week I got Serbia out of the box.
Serbia is a land-locked country in south-east Europe. It’s got expansive mountains which are spread through-out the nation. Belgrade is its capital city and over 2 million people live there. Serbia has produced some very famous people such as Nikola Tesla who contributed to the invention of modern electricity and Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Novak Djokovic who are all world-renowned tennis players.
It is well-known for its beautiful Orthodox monasteries around the mountain Fruska Gora, in the north of the country. Also it is one of the ten countries in which the Danube River (Europe’s longest river known as an International Waterway) runs through, which crosses the top half of the country.
Serbia has a diverse cuisine taking influences from a number of other countries cooking techniques and styles such as; Mediterranean, Central European (especially Hungarian and Austrian) and Turkish. Food is important in all social and family gatherings or celebrations such as Christmas and Easter.
Bread is a staple food like many other European countries along with milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables and meat. Serbia has made quite a name for its self with an alcoholic drink – Slivovitz, a plum brandy and also claims it’s the birthplace of Rakia, a highly alcoholic beverage primarily distilled from fruit.
What I made:
I chose to make a dessert this week for a change, and I found a delicious sounding recipe for an Apricot Torte. The cake has three layers of a soft buttery dough, then crunchy cinnamon sugar and nuts, the second layer is spread with freshly made apricot puree and then topped off with a nutty baked meringue. This cake was a good choice to make as this is apricot season here in Australia. I found the recipe here apricot-torte
I changed the recipe by making my own apricot mixture for in the cake. I did this by cutting up 7 fresh apricots and put them in medium saucepan with a few tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of sugar and cooked that mixture for 15-20 minutes until the apricots were soft and had thickened. I also changed the quantities in the recipe, as it made a huge cake serving 12!
And we found that on the day we didn’t have enough walnuts so I used some flaked almonds instead. This cake takes quite a long time to make but it was worth it, it was especially good when served warm with whipped cream. This cake scored 9/10.
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- ⅛ cup warm water
- 165gm softened butter
- 1¾ cups plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts/slivered almonds
- ½ rounded cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup of apricot jam or fresh apricot puree (see above)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup castor sugar
- ¼ cup flaked almonds/finely chopped walnuts
- Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water in a small bowl and set aside. Grease a cake tin 26cm x 16 cm x 3.5cm deep. Heat oven to 180 °C.
- In a processor or mixer, blend the butter and flour. Mix the egg yolks, sour cream and add to the yeast. Add to flour mixture and blend until a ball of dough forms. Do not knead.
- Divide dough into 3 equal parts. On a lightly floured board, roll 1 part into rectangle and place in prepared pan.
- In a medium bowl, mix the chopped nuts, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over dough in pan. Roll out second piece of dough and place on top.
- Spread with apricot filling or jam. Roll out remaining piece of dough and place on top. Bake 45-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and is cooked.
- Just before ready, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add castor sugar gradually, beating until stiff peaks form. Remove torte from oven and spread meringue over top. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup nuts.
- Bake until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool a little, serve warm.