Ston Cake (Makaruli cake)

Ston cake is made up of typically recognizable ingredients and the cuisine of the Ston region. The old inhabitans of Ston and Pelješac used pasta in various ways, depending on their status and means. The Ston Cake is ranked as a top dessert and was prepared for special occasions, particulary for Easter. This cake is one of the trademarks of cuisine in ancient and modern Dubrovnik.

ston-cakeFor the dough:

3 cups (12 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

2 large eggs

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1-3 tablespoons water

 

For the filling:

1/2 pound dried penne or ziti pasta

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups (4 1/2 ounces) almond meal

1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 large eggs

Zest of half lemon

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

 

For the garnish:

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack on the center rung.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour and salt. In a small bowl whisk the eggs, olive oil and vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil mixture to the flour, stirring gently with a spoon. Do not over-work the mixture. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture loosely comes together. Let it rest covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel.

Cook the pasta in boiling unsalted water as instructed on package for al dente.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, almond meal, bread crumbs, and cinnamon. In another small bowl, beat the eggs slightly with the lemon zest and almond extract.

Rub an 8-inch springform cake pan with olive oil and dust with a spoonful of flour.

Roll out dough to 14-inch circle and nestle it into the pan, letting the extra dough drape over the sides of the pan.

Spread a handful of well-drained cooked pasta across the bottom. Sprinkle with two large handfuls of the almond meal mixture. Pour 1/2 cup of the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with 1/3 of the butter pieces. Repeat for all layers to the top or until the ingredients are used up. After each addition, tap the pan down gently to settle all the layers. Trim the excess dough from the sides of the pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust is slightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Remove the sides of the pan then invert the cake onto a serving platter and take off the metal bottom.

Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, preferably tapped onto the cake through a fine mesh sieve or tea strainer.

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