Middle Eastern Almond Cake with Nougat Ice Cream
This is an easy recipe for a not-really-authentic cake but it has all the qualities of the sort of sweet you can find in the Middle East. You can either make this as individual cakes (which I do with one of those funky little flexible silicone cake tins) of you can use a sandwich tin. The latter is probably best for a family meal. Makes 12 Individual or 1 Large
  1. First add the boiling water to the cous cous and set aside to let the water be absorbed.
  2. In a mixing bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and stir in the almonds, flour and oil. At this point you can add some sultanas that had been soaking in amaretto for an hour or so for a variation of the theme.
  3. Finally add the cooled cous cous to the mix and divide into equal cake cases, or add to a buttered sandwich tin. The mix should be like a thick, grainy batter.
  4. Stud the surface with blanched almonds in a nice pattern and bake in a medium oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden and set. Don’t let the top get too dark as the almonds will turn a bit bitter.
  5. When the cake is cool make up a syrup of equal parts sugar and boiling water, allow to cool for a few minutes before drizzling over the cake.
  6. Add as much as you like as the cake will only absorb what it can, but better to drizzle it a few time than try and add it all at once. If you like you can flavour the syrup with rose water, mint or lemon oil.
  7. Chill the cake for a lovely moist, sweet, chewy delight.
The Ice Cream
  1. Beat the eggs with the sugar (that’s whole eggs, no need to use yolk-only) whilst heating the cream to just boiling (a microwave is ideal for this but do keep an eye on it).
  2. Add the boiling cream to the eggs while still beating and transfer the bowl to the top of a pan of boiling water (bain marie) and stir until thickened.
  3. Allow the custard to cool before adding it to an ice cream maker.
  4. Once churning add crumbled up hard nougat. Don’t add the nougat when the custard is hot as it will all dissolve.
  5. Enjoy!