For a small country, the influence of Georgian food has spread though much of the former USSR, due to the immigration of many Georgians to different countries. It is extremely diverse, taking influence from the cuisines of the Middle East, Europe and Asia. In Russia, it is said that all cities have a Georgian restaurant and other restaurants will tend to include some form of Georgian Cuisine on their menus. Having said this, all my research seemed to turn up was either the cuisine of Georgia, USA or the cuisine of the Georgian and Regency periods – neither of which are massively useful!
I kept searching, willing the internet and what books I had to provide interesting ideas. I read a lot about the Supra style of dining and the role of the tamada, whose job it is to make highly philosophical toasts thoughout the meal. I learnt that Georgia has three distinct alphabets and that the story of the Golden Fleece originates from Georgia, as they used to use fleeces to sift gold particles out of the river. I even learn that my favourite Masterchef Australia contestant from last year Alice Zaslavsky is from Georgia. All good stuff, but did it help me in the cake hunt? No it did not!
Finally, I came upon this recipe for a Georgian walnut cake. This cake is similar to a gateaux in many ways, consisting of layers of cake and walnut meringue, covered with a chocolate glaze. Don’t be put off by the sour cream in the glaze – you can’t taste it in the final mixture – I was quite glad about this, as it’s not my favourite flavour! The recipe is adapted from here.
- 200g butter
- 350g plain flour
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a loaf tin. Set aside.
Mix together the butter, sugar, baking powder and flour before adding the egg yolks and sour cream to form a ball. Turn out and knead for a couple of minutes before placing in the fridge to cool for about 20 minutes.
To make the filling, whip the egg whites and sugar until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold in the chopped walnuts.
To assemble the cake, take the chilled dough and cut into three pieces. Roll out the first piece and place in the bottom of the greased tin. Add a layer of the filling to cover this first layer. Roll out the second piece of dough and repeat the process, layering up the dough and filling before finishing with a final layer of dough. Bake for 30 minutes before removing and leaving to cool. Remove from the tin after 5 minutes to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Make the glaze by combining the sugar, cocoa powder and sour cream in a small pan. Heat gently until the mixture combines and becomes glossy. Cover the cake with the glaze and leave to set. Decorate with chopped walnuts as desired.
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