Willunga Almonds is written by Helen Bennetts, an architectural scientist who began learning about almonds and collecting recipes when she and her husband – whose family had been almond growers – bought a property in Willunga nearly 20 years ago.
“Almonds and the almond industry have been intertwined with Willunga for almost 100 years,” Bennetts writes. “At one time, 90 per cent of Australia’s almond crop came from the district.”
Her book includes photos from the 1930s and ’40s, stories about the history of almond-growing in South Australia, details of the health properties and different varieties of almonds, and recipes for both sweet and savoury almond dishes such as the chocolate cake below.
Andrew’s chocolate indulgence cake
“Some recipes languish in the bottom of the drawer – not this one. It was written out for me by a friend many years ago, who had been given it by her friend, Andrew, and I in turn have passed it on to many others.
“The stains on the original page are a testament to the popularity of this rich and delicious cake.
“Serve with cream, crème fraîche or ice-cream.”
125g almond meal
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
200g dark chocolate
4 eggs, separated
Icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat oven to 180C and prepare a 22cm cake tin with removable base.
Melt chocolate in double boiler. While this is melting, cream sugar and butter until light-coloured then add egg yolks one at a time, mixing each in well. Beat egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until very stiff.
Add chocolate and almonds to the egg-butter-sugar mixture, stirring in well. Fold in egg whites and pour into prepared tin.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely then remove from tin and dust with icing sugar.Jump to next article