Walnut and Almond Cake, Orange-Poimegranate Compote
From Chef Mathew Peters, The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Naples, Florida
Makes 10 servings
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Syrup and compote:
- 4 large oranges, peel of 1 orange removed in strips
- 1 cup pure, unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate liquor
- 1⁄2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1⁄2 vanilla bean
- 3⁄4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan with oil. Combine walnuts, almonds and cake flour in processor. Grind nuts finely.
- Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks, lemon zest, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until it begins to thicken, about three minutes. Gradually add 1⁄2 cup sugar, beating until very thick and light in color. Beat in orange juice, then fold in nut mixture. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1⁄2 cup sugar, beating until stiff, but not dry. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture in three additions.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until puffed and deep golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack.
- Place large sieve over bowl. Cut off all peel and pith from oranges. Working over sieve, cut oranges between membranes to release segments into sieve. Squeeze any juice from orange membranes. Let oranges drain while preparing syrup.
- Bring pomegranate juice, sugar, lemon juice and reserved orange peel to boil in medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and thin syrup forms. Remove from heat. Holding orange peel back with spoon, pour 3⁄4 cup syrup into small bowl. Spoon over cake, and let stand at least one hour.
- Add drained orange juice to remaining syrup in pan. Boil syrup with peel until reduced enough to coat spoon, about eight minutes. Discard peel. Mix in pomegranate seeds and liquor, then chill.
- Place orange segments into a separate bowl until ready to serve.
- In a large bowl, add the whipping cream, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and powdered sugar. Whisk until strong peaks are formed. Refrigerate and reserve until ready to serve.
- Cut cake lengthwise into 2 1⁄2 inch wide strips. Cut strips on diagonal into diamonds. Place on plates, and place orange segments around cake. Spoon syrup around cake, add whipped cream to top and serve.