Savarins, yeasted cakes traditionally soaked in rum syrup, are named after Brillat-Savarin, an 18th-century French gastronomer. He is famous for having said, 'Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are.' If you eat this Apricot Savarin, you'll be sweet, syrupy and a little bit nutty.
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 (0.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup milk, scalded and cooled*
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 1/2 cups all-purpse flour
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup apricot nectar
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Place almonds in a single layer in a shallow baking pan; toast in oven for 12 minutes or until fragrant and starting to brown; turn oven off and set almonds aside to cool.
- Dissolve yeast in small bowl with warm water (105°F to 115°F / 40°C to 45°C). Stir in butter. Set aside and allow to foam, about 5 minutes.
- Grease a fluted tube pan and dust with flour (use graham cracker crumbs or fine bread crumbs for more texture); set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until light and lemon-colored. Add yeast mixture, milk and lemon peel; mix well. Gradually add flour, a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Stir in toasted almonds. Pour into prepared pan; it should be about half full. Cover; let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Ten minutes before rising is complete, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Bake for about 20 minutes; cake should be brown and a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean. Meanwhile, heat honey and apricot nectar together in a saucepan, stirring frequently; remove from heat when well mixed and steaming.
- Remove cake from oven; immediately prick exposed surface of cake with a skewer and brush with about one-fourth of apricot-honey syrup. After about five minutes, place a plate over top of cake pan and invert cake onto plate. Using a skewer, gently prick cake all over; this will make it easier for the apricot syrup to soak in. Brush or spoon remaining syrup over cake until liquid is absorbed. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap when completely cooled and leave at room temperature.
Makes 16 servings.
*To scald milk, heat over low heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan (the temperature should read 180° to 190°F).