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Spanish Dessert. Recipe

Title: Tarta de Santiago: A Traditional Spanish Dessert

Introduction:
Spanish cuisine is known for its rich flavors and diverse range of dishes. Among the many delightful treats in Spanish culinary culture, desserts hold a special place, offering a sweet ending to a delicious meal. One such dessert, Tarta de Santiago, holds a significant position in Spanish gastronomy. This rich almond cake with a hint of citrus is not only a delicious indulgence, but it also bears historical and cultural significance. In this article, we will explore the history of Tarta de Santiago, share a traditional recipe, and discuss some fun facts about this delightful Spanish dessert.

Historical Background:
Tarta de Santiago, also known as Santiago Almond Cake, originates from the region of Galicia in Northwestern Spain. It is named after Santiago de Compostela, a city famous for its breathtaking cathedral and being the final destination on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

The cake's origins can be traced back to the medieval period when it was consumed by pilgrims visiting the shrine of St. James the Apostle. The recipe gained popularity over the centuries and became an essential part of Galician cuisine. Today, Tarta de Santiago is widely enjoyed throughout Spain and is considered a symbol of Galician pride.

Recipe: Tarta de Santiago

Ingredients:
- 250g blanched almonds
- 250g granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a round springform cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a food processor, grind the blanched almonds until they reach a fine consistency. You can also place them in a sealed bag and crush them using a rolling pin.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds, granulated sugar, lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.

4. Separate the eggs, placing the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and the egg yolks in a separate bowl.

5. Beat the egg yolks lightly and then add them to the dry ingredient mixture. Stir until well incorporated.

6. In the bowl with the egg whites, beat them until stiff peaks form.

7. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture, ensuring not to overmix and deflate the batter.

8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.

9. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

10. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

11. Once cooled, remove the parchment paper, place the Tarta de Santiago on a serving plate, and dust generously with powdered sugar.

12. To create the traditional Santiago cross design, place a stencil on top of the cake and sprinkle additional powdered sugar, creating an elegant pattern.

13. Serve the Tarta de Santiago as a standalone dessert or with a dollop of whipped cream.

Fun Facts:
1. The cross design on top of the Tarta de Santiago is a symbol of the Order of St. James, a medieval Catholic military order that protected pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

2. In 2006, the Galician government initiated an application to have Tarta de Santiago recognized as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), ensuring the cake's quality and authentic production methods.

3. Tarta de Santiago is often served on St. James' Day (July 25th) as part of the festivities in Galicia.

Similar Recipe Dishes:

1. Tocino de Cielo: A rich caramel custard dessert.

2. Crema Catalana: Similar to crème brûlée, this Catalan dessert is flavored with cinnamon and lemon zest.

3. Flan: A popular Spanish dessert made with eggs, milk, and caramel.

Conclusion:
Tarta de Santiago not only delights the taste buds but also embodies the cultural heritage of Galicia and the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Its simple yet elegant flavor profile, combined with its historical significance, makes it a must-try dessert for anyone interested in Spanish cuisine. With this recipe in hand, you can recreate a slice of Spanish gastronomy in the comfort of your own kitchen. ¡Buen provecho!

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