As I was reading The New Spanish Table, I was so excited about the tapas, seafood, and rice chapters, I didn’t really even expect much from desserts. I should have known better. There are ice creams, sorbets, and granitas with flavors ranging from honey and cinnamon to beet and strawberry. There are also confections and cookies such as the orange and pistachio magdalenas seen here. These light, little, tea cakes are made with olive oil instead of butter and are flavored with orange juice, orange zest, and orange flower water. Something about the fragrance of orange flower water seems like summer to me. Is there a flower that blooms in the summer with a similar scent? Whatever it is about it, I like it, and it added another dimension to the Moorish-inspired flavors of these delicate, mini cakes. They’re similar to French madeleines but were baked in a mini-muffin pan.
The batter was started by mixing eggs and confectioners’ sugar. Then a combination of flour, salt, and baking powder was added alternately with a combination of cream, orange juice, and olive oil. Last, chopped, toasted pistachios, orange zest, and orange flower water were added. The batter was covered and left to rest for 30 minutes before being baked in buttered mini-muffin cups. After the cakes cooled, they were dusted with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar.
It’s a good thing these are simple to make because they disappear from a serving platter quickly. They’re cute and so light that when you pick up the bite-sized morsels, you quickly lose count of how many you’ve sampled. Since I hid some away to ensure they’d last a few days, I can also report that they keep very well, and the layered orange flavors are perfect with a cup of tea.