Portuguese style sweet focaccia

Portuguese style sweet focaccia

Focaccia alla portoghese

By
From
The Italian Baker
Makes
4 squares

For years this was the snack I took to school. My mother used to buy it at our local bakery and would put a couple of tiny sponge squares into my lunchbox. It was a real treat. Ever since then, whenever I bake them the aroma they produce takes me back in time, to those sweet days… The name is a bit of a mystery, but could be to do with Portuguese merchants who brought the recipe with them when they arrived in Italy around the end of the 1400s.

You can make this in a round tin, but for sentimental reasons I stick to the square shape of my childhood. It is usually simply dusted with icing sugar, but here I drizzle an orange syrup over the cake and top with fruit.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the sugar syrup

Quantity Ingredient
200ml water
200g caster sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice

For the cake

Quantity Ingredient
softened butter, for greasing
150g ground almonds
50g potato flour
150g caster sugar
2 orange, zest finely grated and juiced
3 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Method

  1. For the syrup, put the water and sugar in a pan over a medium heat and bring gently to a boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat, immediately add the orange juice and set aside to cool. (Leftover syrup can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Butter the insides of a 20 cm square tin and line with baking parchment.
  3. Put the ground almonds and potato flour into a food processor and pulse until very fine. Sift the mixture and process again, then tip into a bowl and set aside. Without washing the food processor, add the sugar and orange zest and process until well blended and fine.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a mixing bowl and hand-held electric whisk), whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff and glossy, then set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale and doubled in volume. Stir in the sugar and orange mixture.
  5. Using a spatula, fold the almond and potato flour mixture into the yolk mixture and combine well. Add the orange juice and stir. Finally, very gently fold in the egg whites, making sure you don’t deflate the batter.
  6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 35–40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before inverting on to a wire rack. While still warm, brush the top with the orange syrup. Leave to cool before cutting into squares. Serve with fruit scattered on top.
Tags:
baking
cakes
biscuits
Italian
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