Amardeen is a beloved snack for every kid raised in the Near-East; Amardeen is a sheet of apricot paste. The apricots are grown in the area of the Ghouta, near Damascus in Syria. Amardeen is tangy, sweet and has an intense apricot flavor.
This is a basic sponge cake with an apricot filling made out of a sheet of amardeen.
Middle-Eastern stores commonly sell the amardeen in sheet form, but also as a syrup. Both can be used here. The cream should be prepared the day before if using amardeen (instead of the syrup) as it needs time to dissolve in water.
FOR THE SPONGE CAKE
- 6 Large eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar, divided (200 g.)
- 1 Tablespoon orange blossom water (or a mixture of orange and rose water)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Rind of one orange or lemon
- 1 cup of sifted cake flour (100 g)
- 3/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
- Powdered sugar, as needed
- Amardeen cream
- In a small bowl, mix the sifted cake flour with 1/4 cup of sugar. In a large mixing bowl, place the egg whites and next to the mixing bowl, place 1/4 cup of sugar and the cream of tartar. Start beating the whites, add the cream of tartar when frothy and add the sugar gradually to the whites; don’t over-beat, stop the machine once the whites form a stiff but still shiny meringue. Set aside or transfer to another bowl and start beating the yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar.
- Beat the yolks and sugar till thick and light in color; add the flavorings and citrus rind. sift the flour mixture over the yolks and gently fold it in with a spatula. Fold the whites into the batter gently so as not to deflate it and when the batter is ready, transfer into a cake pan lined with parchment paper (or greased and floured). I used a 9 inch pan.
- Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 35 minutes; test the cake with a toothpick and when golden-browned and puffy remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes then remove from the cake pan and cool it completely.
- Using a long serrated knife, cut the layer in two, and spread the amardeen cream on the bottom layer. Assemble the two layers and sprinkle powdered sugar on the cake. Serve.
To make the amardeen cream:
- 1/2 package of amardeen cream (250 g.)
- 1/2 cup of sugar (or more, to taste)
- 1/3 cup of cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon of lemon
- Cut the amardeen in small pieces and soak in two cups of water overnight (cover and keep in the fridge); the next day, transfer to a saucepan and heat gently until the amardeen is completely dissolved. Add the sugar and make sure it is dissolved in the mixture, then add the lemon juice.
- Dilute the cornstarch in a bit of water and when the amardeen cream is steaming, stir the cornstarch mixture in and stir for a couple of minutes until the mixture thickens. Strain (to make sure no lumps remain) and cool; it will thicken more.
- Spread the apricot cream over the bottom layer of the cake.
NOTE: You can make the cream using the syrup; dilute the syrup with a cup of water (same volume water and syrup), add sugar and dissolve the sugar over low heat; add the cornstarch mixture and when thick strain through a sieve and cool.
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