Known as Le Saint-Germain, this almond and rum cake was invented by the Patisserie Hardy in 1920, Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Although the genuine recipe is a local secret, I have attempted to create something similar for those of you who cannot visit Paris.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4/360°F.
Beat the butter, sugar and salt together in a mixer or by hand until pale and creamy. Gradually add the other ingredients until well combined then split the dough in two, cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour. (You won't need all of this dough - you can freeze the rest or keep it for up to 3 days.)
Remove from the fridge until easily workable. Roll out the pastry to 3-4mm thickness on a floured surface then press into a 24cm (9") tart ring or into a pie case. Leave to set in the fridge for 20 minutes then blind bake by topping with baking parchment and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. (For a more detailed step-by-step recipe, see my chapter on tarts in 'Teatime in Paris'.) Set aside to cool on a wire rack once turned out.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Add the eggs, ground almonds and rum if using. Sprinkle the slivered almonds on the base of the baked pastry base then spread on the almond filling. Bake further in the oven for 25 minutes (same temperature as above). Set aside to cool then chill for 24 hours or overnight in the fridge.
Mix together the icing (powdered) sugar with the rum and spread the glaze on to the cooled almond tart.
Set aside in the fridge for 24 hours to mature and serve at room temperature to appreciate all of the flavours. Decorate with red fruits. Although you can serve this on the day, waiting until the next day is really worth the wait. Like macarons, the flavours intensify and the result is so much better after maturing the cake.
Note: Some local friends make this without the tart base and it's just as good, even if not an authentic Saint-Germain cake. If making this without the sweet pastry base, add another egg to the almond filling.
Nutritional Information: 240 Calories per serving; 6g protein.