Let’s celebrate by making ratafia cakes
Take 8 fl oz: apricot kernels, if they cannot be had bitter Almonds will do as well, blanch them & beat them very fine with a little Orange flower water, mix them with the whites of three eggs well beaten & sifted, work all together and it will be like a paste, then lay it in little round bits on tin plates flour’d, set them in an oven that is not very hot & they will puff up & be soon baked.
4 fl oz/ 110 g/ 1 cup ground almonds; 2 egg whites; 1 teaspoon orange-flower water or orange liqueur; 6 oz/ 175 g/ ¾ cup caster (superfine) sugar; rice paper
Today we know that bitter almonds may contain prussic acid, so it is wise to use ready-ground sweet almonds and a little orange liqueur for extra flavour instead. Set the oven to heat to 350 F/ 180 C/ Gas Mark 4. Sieve or pound the almonds in a bowl to get rid of any lumps. In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites with the orange-flower water or liqueur until stiff. Then mix the sugar into the almonds thoroughly and lastly fold in the whisked whites. Cover a baking-sheet with rice paper and place small teaspoonfuls of mixture on it, well spaced apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cakes are just fawn; they must be soft underneath. Cool them on the sheet, then keep in an airtight tin. Enjoy them with after-dinner coffee.
(Black, Maggie and LeFaye, Deirdre, The Jane Austen Cookbook, p. 125)
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