Mistress of the Wind is a departure from my historical novels, although everyone who knows me knows fantasy has always been very close to my heart. The book is a retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon — one of those great fairy tales that sets convention on its head and the heroine rescues the prince, not the other way around.
Continuing on from our recipe theme, I thought I’d give everyone a link to one of my favorite recipes, Nigella Lawson’s Marzipan Fruit Cake. The recipe is from her cookbook How To Be A Domestic Goddess, and I recommend all the recipes in that book. I use it all the time. If you don’t like fruit cake, this recipe will change your mind, and if you feel very ambitious, you might want to try your hand at making your own marzipan. I do, and I think it makes the cake taste even better.
Marzipan Fruit Cake
Note that this needs to be started *at least* 24 hours before you want to consume it.
150g (5.3 oz)sultanas
100g (3.5 oz) natural coloured glace cherries, halved
150g (5.3 oz) dried pears, chopped
100ml (1/3 cup) white rum
250g (8.8oz) marzipan
50g (1.8 oz) ground almonds
zest of 1 lemon
175g 6.2 oz) plain flour
100g (3.5 oz) caster sugar
100g (3.5 oz) butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp orange flower water
20cm spring form cake tin, buttered and lined bottom and sides, so that the parchment comes a good 10cm above the rim
The night before, mix sultanas, glace cherries and dried pears in a large bowl, cover with the rum. Dice the marzipan and put it in the freezer. Leave both to soak and freeze overnight.
Next day, preheat oven to 140 deg C/gas 1. Beat together almonds, lemon zest, sugar, flour, butter and eggs. Add drained fruit, orange flower water and frozen marzipan. Put the mixture into the tin, levelling the surface, and making a slight indent in the middle to get an even surface when cooked.
Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, or until skewer comes out clean. Do not overcook, as it will continue to cook in its own heat for a bit. But don’t worry – there’s enough dried fruit and marzipan to stop anyone complaining that the cake is dry.
Allow to cool in the tin, rewrap in parchment and foil to store for about a week. Although Nigella does say that she’s never managed more than two days’ storage …
So, what is your favorite fairy tale? If you can’t pick one, tell me all the ones you love!