Chef Renee Marton offers up this honey cake enriched with saffron for the Jewish New Year.
SAFFRON AND HONEY CAKE
From the land of milk and honey…
I contributed this recipe to a book called The Good Book Cookbook- Recipes from Biblical Times, by Goodman, Marcus and Woolhandler, (Dodd, Mead, 1986). I’ve re-written the recipe to reflect modern usage.
3 lightly oiled 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pans—pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
1 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 ¾ cups blanched almonds, finely ground
6 eggs, separated
1 cup milk- warmed
1 cup honey
Zest of one orange, finely chopped
½ teaspoon baking soda
large pinch saffron threads
Measure out all ingredients so they are ready to use.
Soak saffron in warm milk for one hour; then add honey and orange zest.
In large bowl, beat the egg yolks with an electric beater until they form a ribbon.
In another bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until almost stiff. Refrigerate until right before you need them.
Combine flour and almonds in a large bowl—this will be the bowl into which the other ingredients are added. At this point, add baking soda to saffron milk/honey mixture.
Alternating between the saffron milk mixture and the egg yolks, beat small amounts of each into the almond flour mixture. After they are added, stir in ¼ of the whipped egg whites to loosen up the batter. Then delicately fold in the rest of the egg whites until just blended. Do not overmix.
Divide the batter evenly among the three pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake to see if it is “done”—it should come out clean.
Remove cakes from oven, place on a rack and cool the cakes for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and gently flip the cakes out of the pan. Turn them right side up and cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and do not refrigerate unless you expect to keep them for more than a few days.