Chewy and moist individual almond cakes.
Almond Cake with Cognac and Grapes
1-1/2 tablespoons Cognac (optional)
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
4 ounces Mandelin Blanched Almond Flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Special equipment: 4 shallow 1/3-cup gratin dishes (1/2 inch deep)
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400°.
If using Cognac, toss grapes with it in a small bowl.
In a small bowl, mix together almond meal and 2 tablespoons sugar.
Beat together butter and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar in a bowl with electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and beat in ground almonds, flour, and salt until just combined.
Divide batter among gratin dishes and press grapes lightly into batter (discard Cognac). Bake in dishes on a baking sheet until cake is firm and pale golden with slightly darker edges, about 20 minutes.
Transfer cakes to a rack and cool slightly in dishes before serving.
Cooking Tip: Instead of the individual gratin dishes, the batter can also be baked in a 9-inch glass pie plate for 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 4.
Gourmet, October 2003