Gâteau de Tangelo Pochées
Gâteau de Tangelo Pochées or Poached Tangelo Cake, is a very simple to make flourless and butterless cake with an incredible citrusy zing to it. No gluten, almost fat-free, and potentially low sugar, this gateau makes the perfect afternoon tea cake, allowing one to indulge so ever frequently in an almost guilt-free manner and yet not become bored of it, as the flexibility of the recipe allows to be to readily modified for other citrus fruits varieties and even other fruits. The original recipe was for “Gâteau de clémentines pochées” (Poached Clementine Cake) in Trish Deseine‘s book “Mes Petits Plats Préférés“, a collection of simple-to-follow, and almost dummy-proof recipes which helped her to win the French Gourmand Cookbook Award in 2002. Exactly 10 years later now her recipes proved to be ever-withstanding and easily reproducible. Deseine used clementines for her cake, a variety of mandarin oranges known for their seedless qualities. But since tangelos are in season, I’d used them instead, and may I add that the result was simply delish!
Tangelos are hybrids from tangerines and pomelos, and hence the name. They look like miniature pomelos with the characteristic nucchal hump near the receptacle but yet retained the size and colour of tangerines. The juice is has a sharp edge to it and on a scale of 1 – 10 for 1 is lime while 10 are navel oranges, I would place tangelos around a 3-4. They are incredibly juicy and make wondering replacements for silician oranges and even meyer lemons. The skin is smooth and I can imagine that they would be highly suitable for marmalading. But I’ve had enough confituring for now, having made a batch using blood oranges just 2 weeks ago.
Here’s the recipe, loosely adapted from Gâteau de clémentines pochées” in Trish Deseine‘s “Mes Petits Plats Préférés”
Tangelo Almond Cake
3 tangelos (around 150g each). Can be substituted with citrus fruits of your choice
250g finely ground almond meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsbp of good quality marmalade (optional)
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp tangelo zest
1 tbsp tangerine juice
5-6 slices of tangelo discs, about 2-3mm thick
750 ml water
Poached Tangelo Cake
Soak 3 tangelos in warm water for about 10 min and gently scrub the skin to remove any dirt or wax
Place the tangelos in a deep pot and add water until the citrus fruits are completely submerged. They might float a little but that doesn’t matter
Turn on to high heat and bring the water to a boil for 5-10 min before lowering the flame to medium and continue to boil for 1 hour until the tangelos are soft.Top up water during the cooking process if necessary.
After 1 h, check that the tangelos have soften considerbly by removing them from the cooking liquids Let them cool down completely.
Once the tangelos are safe to be handled with bare hands, slice the tangelos into halves and then quarters.
With the aid of a small knife, carefully remove the skin and rind.
Using a teaspoon, scrape the insides of the skin to remove the white pith adhering to the rind which would cause the rind to taste bitter, as well as any pips, stringy and veiny fibres as well as seeds.
Transfer the rind, pulp to a blender and blitz to form a smooth puree
Place the two tbsp of marmalade over a tea-strainer to drain away the excess syrup. I used homemade blood orange confiture I made from Macaron Sanguine. Rinse by pouring some warm water over the strainer if desired, thought I found this unnecessary. The purpose of this is to get the rind but a bit of syrup wouldnt make much of a difference
Beat 6 eggs in a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar, almond meal, tangelo puree, confiture orange rind and finally baking powder until well incorporated.
Pour the batter into a pre-greased and flour-dusted bundt pan, and bake in the oven preheated at 180C for 1 h.
Around 30-40 min, tent the bundt pan with aluminium foil ifthe top as browned too much.
Remove from the oven after baking, cool down before inverting the cake only a cooling rack.
Candied tangelo slices
While the tangelos are cooking or the cake is baking, prepare candied tangelo slices.
Pour water and sugar into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Add tangelo slices carefully
After 10 min, cover with lid and lower heat to medium flame and continue to cook for 1 h.
Remove the slices carefully from cooking syrup with a wooden spatula and lay them over baking sheet to cool down to room temperature
After the cake is out of the oven and cooling, prepare tangelo glaze.
In a mixing bowl place, melted butter, icing sugar and tangelo zest followed by tangelo juice and mix with a spoon until well incorporated. Add more tangelo juice if neccessary. The glaze should be rather viscous but with a slightly lava-runny consistency.
Invert the bundt pan onto the cooking rack
Generously pour tangelo glaze over the top of the cake with the aid of a spoon. The glaze would trickle along both sides
After the icing has set, carefully slice the cake and place a slice of candied tangelo over the top. Caramlise the candied tangelo slice with a blowtorch, or simply sprinle some silver dragees if desired.
Tossing on some silver dragees for the kick of it!
Brulee-ed the surface of the candided tangelo slices with a blowtorch before leaving to set. It can also be done with a broiler, salamander or simply using the top-element grill function of a conventional oven.
I love this recipe!!! Definitely a keeper! Being flourless and butterless has so many wonderful attributes, and here’re a couple which I can think of
(1) The cake is very moist and dense, but albeit ironically soft and light on the palate! There isn’t that sickly sensation in the stomach one gets from eating too much cake. Well… for me at least!
(2) The no. 1 killer of a soft and crumbly cake is glutenising the batter from overmixing, which would invariably produce a dry and hard cake. But since it is flourless, there is hardly any starch to glutinise in the first place! So mix it all you want!
(3) Apart from being flourless, this cake is also butterless, or for that matter, void of any purposeful attempt to introduce any form of fat into the batter. The only lipids we get are the natural oils from the orange itself, as well as from the almonds! Think aromatherapy! Flourless and butterless means guilt-less gluttony! Well… almost!
(4) Being gluten-free, this is the perfect recipe for those with Celiac aka gluten-intolerence.
The recipe can also be low-sugar if desired, especially when sweeter citrus varieties like navel oranges or mikans aka satsumas are used. Not only are we decreasing our sugar intake, we are also allow the citrusy zing and tang to shine through! Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
Though smelling really heavenly from the tangelo zest incorporated, the icing sugar glaze is a tad too sweet for my liking. I’ll probably try out with a less sugary brush-on syrup glaze while the cake is still warm when freshly inverted.
If only this cake can be as light on the wallet as it is on the palate. Almond meal ain’t the cheapest gluten substitutes available, that’s if there’s ever one which is cheap in the first place! And 250g of almond meal can make me easily 4-5 dozens of macarons!!! I’ll try to do partially “re-substitution” of the recipe with pastry or cake flour. But much experimentation is required for this as these two ingredients ain’t directly replaceable by weight.
While being gluten-free and literally oil=free is good, 6 eggs at one go ain’t too kind on the cholestrol count. Perhaps a more egg-white frenh meringue with less egg-yolk batter a la chiffon method can be used? Quite a number of options to play around with!