1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon aniseed
¼ teaspoon cloves
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon mace
9 oz/1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
7 oz/1 cup brown sugar
6 oz/¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 egg, well beaten
10½ oz coarse almond paste (I made my own, see below)
about ½-¾ of a beaten egg (reserve the rest for glazing)
- Combine spices, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and run the food processor until the dough comes together. Try not to eat all the dough. Divide the dough into ⅓ and ⅔ portions, shape in discs, wrap separately in plastic and refrigerate. Chill for one hour. It can be made the day before, but will need to warm up before rolling to prevent it from breaking up.
- Preheat oven to 340℉/170℃ and grease a 9" cake pan.
- Mix the coarse almond paste with enough beaten egg to make a fairly soft, spreadable filling. Set aside. Roll out the larger portion of dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap to an 11" circle. Make sure there are no creases in the plastic wrap. Use this piece of dough to line the pan, pressing it to the sides of the pan so it doesn't fall inward. Spread the almond paste evenly over the dough and fold in the dough edges so they rest on the almond paste. Reuse the plastic wrap to roll the smaller piece of dough into an 8½" circle. It should be slightly smaller than the cake pan. Trim it so the edges are neat. Moisten the edges of the dough in the pan and lay the smaller circle on top. Press the edges gently together to seal. Brush with the leftover beaten egg and prick with a fork in several places. I forgot to glaze it and it was fine.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Leave to cool in the pan, then transfer carefully to a serving plate. If you can stand it, wrap this and let it sit for a day or two before serving for best flavour.
Coarse almond paste:
My new neighbourhood has a fantastic store for buying very fresh nuts, so I have given up on store-bought almond paste. They do not sell blanched almonds there, but the almonds were huge and very fresh, so I did it myself by covering them with boiling water and letting them sit for a minute or two, till the skins wrinkled. I then rinsed them in cold water and squeezed the almonds out of their skins.
8 oz blanched almonds
5 oz icing sugar
1 egg white
lemon zest (optional)
almond extract (taste first to see if it's necessary--I didn't add any)
Grind almonds in food processor until coarsely ground. Add icing sugar and egg white and process until it comes together. Best made a few days in advance and refrigerated. Can also be frozen.