…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? Did you know the nut we know as the almond is technically the hard-shelled fruit of the almond tree, itself a member of the prunus family? This category of stone fruit encompasses trees and shrubs that produce edible fruit like cherries, plums, peaches and nectarines. So it is little wonder that this incestuous relationship of my Cherry-Almond Cake is so darn good. Oops, I’m not sure that came out the way I wanted it, but oh well.
Almonds are a waistline-friendly snack known to boost heart health and loaded with enough other health benefits to land them a coveted spot on our list of the 50 healthiest foods of all time. Per one-ounce serving, almonds are tied with cashews and pistachios at 160 calories. They also have more calcium than any other nut, plus nearly 9 grams of monounsaturated, heart-healthy fats, 6 grams of protein (peanuts have more protein) and 3.5 grams of fiber per serving.
When you see packaged nuts with the word "roasted" on the front, they may have been heated in trans or other unhealthy fats. Look for the words "raw" or "dry-roasted" instead. "Raw" almonds aren't exactly "Raw.” Since 2007, the USDA has required almonds to be pasteurized before being sold to the public. The FDA has approved several methods of pasteurization "that demonstrate effectiveness in achieving a reduction of possible contamination in almonds while not impacting their quality," according to the Almond Board of California.
According to 2006 research, one ounce of almonds contains about the same amounts of polyphenols—antioxidants thought to help fight off heart disease and cancer—as a cup of broccoli or green tea. You can consider this recipe a guiltfree pleasure.
1-1/3 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup sliced unblanched almonds, for topping
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup dried or candied cherries, rough chopped (you can use a mix of glacéed fruit)
ChefSecret: If you want a crunchier topping—add to or replace the slivered almonds with 3/4 cup of ground almonds.
Quip of the Day: A country that forgets its culinary history past has no future.
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