Ziqqurat cake

First, we have to say this is not really a cake/dessert as accepted in contemporary custom. Secondly, in ancient times it is very likely it would have been used a pan we could define “of dishes presentation”, like the ones unearthed in Mari Palace (small village in modern Siria) dating back to 1050 BC.

 Last but not least, in this reconstruction we analyse the basic layer.

This is the reconstruction of the recipe of the famous ziqqurat cake, tower shaped, dessert often offered to Mesopotamian deities (for example, to Ishtar goddess, as shown in the image).

 The utilized ingredients have been deduced from the analysis of a text founded in the north-west Palace (of Ashurnasirpal II) of Kalhu (Nimrud), food given to the specialist for the preparation of this cake and other desserts. To realize the recipe, always keeping faith to “the philologically accepted reconstruction” portraying Archeoricette, we added some other ingredients.

 Ingredients: 2 eggs,  100gr chickpea flour,  100gr pistachio nut flour,  120ml milk,  120ml olive oil,  1 baking powder bag (or levatina giving a better taste),  30 grapes,  1 spoon of pomegranate seeds,  3 spoons of pomegranate juice,  1 scant cup of handmade beer,  1 teaspoon honey,  Butter just enough

Directions: Wash and dry grapes and pomegranate seeds. Cut grapes in halves and eliminate all the seeds. Marinate with pomegranate seeds in a bowl with some pomegranate juice and the beer, for almost twenty minutes.  In the meantime prepare the dough stirring eggs, honey, chickpea and pistachio nut flours, add milk and oil.Mix baking powder and blend until combined and smooth.  Add grapes and seeds to the dough and the remaining pomegranate juice; mix well.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees, butter and dust with flour a 26cm diameter pan, pour the dough and oven cook for about 45 minutes.  To test the cake try the toothpick method: if it comes up with some wet batter the cake needs to bake some more. For the upper layers proceed in the same way but using always smaller pan for each layer.

(traduzione di Myra Bentivegna)


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