1 pound (450 grams) Clementines (4 to 6 depending on size)
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (250 grams) almond flour (meal) or finely ground almonds
Around the turn of the 20th century a French Priest living in Algeria, named Pere Clement, crossed a bitter orange (Seville) with a Mandarin. The result was a sweet yet tangy, slightly flattened, easy-to-peel orange which became known as the Clementine. Clementines are often called the Christmas orange, as their harvest time corresponds with the holiday season. They are an excellent eating orange but you may want to put a few aside to make this delicious Middle Eastern Clementine Torte which uses whole cooked Clementines, peel and all.
This Clementine Torte recipe is adapted from Stephanie Alexander's excellent 'The Cook's Companion' where she tells us that in Australia this cake is very popular. It's a wonderfully dense and moist cake, with a slightly tart flavor because the batter contains whole oranges, peel and all. The Clementines are simmered in water for a few hours until they become nice and soft which helps to reduce the tartness of the peel. This cake is gluten free as it doesn't contain wheat flour, instead finely ground almonds (almond flour/meal) are used. What is also surprising is that it doesn't contain any butter or oil. It is simply a mixture of whole oranges, eggs, sugar, and ground almonds. Easily made in a food processor, it stores very well. In fact, it is better to bake this cake a day or two in advance of serving so its' flavors have time to soften and blend. Excellent with whipped cream.
As I mentioned above, this torte contains ground almonds. You can either buy almond meal/flour or else you can make your own by placing whole or sliced almonds in your food processor and processing them until finely ground. Almond meal/flour can be found at some grocery stores, specialty food stores/markets, or else at health food stores. You can also order it on line.