Walnuts with chocolate – an adventure

This one is based on the ‘regular’ festive treat prepared by Nela Rubinstein for her family and friends and published by her daughter, Mme Aniela Rubinstein, in her book Kuchnia Neli in Warsaw, 2003. In the past I had enjoyed the collection under the same title, but prepared by Mme Rubinstein herself and published in Warsaw in 1990, so it was easy to tease me into trying this one!IMG_0050

Interesting: walnuts, eggs, spices. No flour at all! Well, a tablespoon or two to flour the spring form – for purist, maybe the breadcrumbs would do the job?

Initially prepared for St. Barbara’s day, 4th of December, it is still in the evaluation stage. I am making notes to record what happened and what i want to consider as adjustments ‘the next time’.

So – the cake ingredients here will indeed feed 16-20 people – so people are lucky to have huge families – and apartments to receive them in. I promised myself that now that i have indeed demonstrated the correctly described sizing i will cut the recipe in half, still plenty of cake to around.

The original calls for a spring form of 25cm dia. As it turns out the largest I had was 23 cm dia – the cake turned out a bit on a tall side, not so easy to slice elegantly – and took a long time baking 0 good 75 minutes. Again, either apply the right dish, or check the readiness carefully with the wooden stick. My target size for half size will be 20 cm, perhaps as tall as I can find it to accommodate the gently yet noticeable ‘rising’ of the cake while baking.

So, for now, i am noting the original configuration:IMG_0048

  • 450g walnuts
  • 300 g sugar
  • 12 eggs (separated into yolks and whites)
  • 125 ml whipping cream
  • freshly grated zest of 1 orange
  • 125 ml bead crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) dark rum
  • 2 tbsp of butter and a small handful of flour, to dust the spring form
  • some walnuts halves to decorate – of so desired
  • some chocolate paste
  • some chocolate sauce (option). In dire straights i would take butter, chocolate, steam them, blend in a bit of whipping cream, take off the heat and go with it..
  1. Grind the walnuts with some (4-5 table spoons) sugar.
  2. Butter and dust the baking form with flour.
  3. Set the oven to 180C/360F.
  4. Combine the ground walnuts, breadcrumbs, salt, and orange zest into some uniform blend.
  5. Beat the egg yolks with sugar until creamy and light yellow.
  6. Add whipping cream, mix thoroughly.
  7. Whip the egg whites until stiff.
  8. Gently introduce egg yolk mixture into the egg whites, Here i already use the hand held, manual, not electric, wire-style beater.
  9. Now, gently, ‘in instalments’ fold the dry mixture into the eggs – this takes some patient, gently but continuous mixing with the wiry beater. It can and will be done, just do not rush.
  10. When all combined, gently (again!) transfer the stuff into prepared spring form and place it in the hot oven.

50 minutes minimum – have a wooden tester ready – remember that the centre has no flour, it is really moist when not ready, but the stick carries no other (that moisture) residue. When you decide it is baked

  1. take it out of the oven and let stand for some 2o min before you remove the spring form
  2. Try to slice it horizontally into three, somewhat even sized, layers. I imagine some slicing errors will be well hidden when all layers are put together,, but do not take my word for it. Original source even suggests that you can cut the whole cake vertically into two, then slice the layers, and worry about hiding the cuts under the chocolate paste .. will confirm it one day
  3. Drop the dark rum over the slices, let stand for some 30 minutes.
  4. Split the chocolate paste into two parts.
  5. Cover two bottom payers with the paste, build the cake
  6. if using , apply the chocolate sauce on the top layer and attempt to cover the sides – it should solidify and stay put even on vertical surfaces
  7. Decorate with walnuts, as you wish – or any other stuff.

I am told you can replace some of the chocolate paste with, i.g. raspberry jam. Also, the cake can be frozen. When taken out of the freezer, mind the time the chocolate needs to soften up..








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