Recipe: Crumbly Lemon Cake

I visited my local library in the week, having to return a book is finished reading. The book, if you are interested, was called Kimberly’s Capital Punishment by Richard Milward. I have never read a book like it in my life. Aside from it’s interesting twist, this story is not for the faint-hearted, or anyone easily offended. The graphic description of all sorts of things had me laughing one minute, then having to put the book down and take a break. Read it, but you have been warned…

Anyway, this trip to the library took me to the cookery section, as it always does. In my library, this section is situated right by the ‘made to seem like a living room showing constant daytime tv’ section. On this occasion, the airing show was Cash in The Attic, or Bargain Hunt, or Dickinson’s Real Deal, or Car Booty… you get the picture. There were at least 5 audience members. Sadly, I don’t think many of them owned an attic, but for a sheltered warm place to spend the day, the library living room is a good choice.

One of the audience had pushed his chair back so far he was only about 5 foot from the bookshelves. That was enough space for me, but I got the feeling I was disturbing his viewing pleasure as he kept looking over his shoulder to see what I was doing. I wasn’t sitting on his shoulder or anything. Just looking at books. In a library. Quite, quite normal. He was probably glad to see me go.

Before I went, I found a lovely little (and light) book called caffè italia. I love my morning coffee, it’s something I can be happy about when waking up. My limit is two, though, or the caffeine takes over. The book is about the coffee culture in Italy, and the things – mostly sweet – that are eaten with a cup of the hot stuff. Looking through it at home, one recipe caught my eye, 1. Because it had lemon in it, and 2. Because I had most of the ingredients already. Making this cake, I was convinced it wouldn’t cook into the crumbly biscuit-like texture I was expecting, but miraculously it did. It’s unusual and tasty and very easy. Here’s the recipe.

Crumbly Lemon Cake – sbrisolona

120g butter, cubed
170g plain flour
120g caster sugar
120g ground almonds
100g fine polenta or semolina
Grated zest of two lemons
2 egg yolks, beaten

a 23cm loose-bottomed tin, lightly greased. I also base-lined with baking paper.

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F, GM 4.
2. Rub the butter, flour and sugar together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the almonds and polenta. Add the lemon zest and mix well.
3. Work in the egg yolks; at this point the the mixture will become a little lumpy. Scatter the mixture evenly into the prepared tin, but do not press down. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and firm. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, breaking into pieces to serve. Store in an airtight tin to keep crunchy.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee and your favourite trash-to-treasure programme.

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