Cast-iron skillets are ingenious and incredibly versatile. Since I received mine, many delicious, simple recipes have resulted. They retain heat well, and their non-stick properties are an inherent quality, as long as they're cleaned properly. "You can keep the same pan for 100 years," Martha Stewart has a wonderful short article about the care, creation, and acquisition of these beautiful pans.
I'm very fortunate to have parents who have continued to spoil me into my adult years. I'm also fortunate to have one of Southern California's best Antique Markets take place down the street from me on the 3rd Sunday of every month, which is where my Dad picked up my pan. I'm not sure of the age, but it's a 10 incher, and just needed a good olive oil seasoning before I put it to good use. I've been slowly acquiring cookware that I know I will use and last years on years - items I'm willing to invest a little more in, knowing my kitchen will be simplified and that I don't have to regularly replace lower-quality utensils and ware. This wonderful pan has become a great staple in my kitchen, and it's yielded some reliably simple recipes this last year.
Swedish Visiting Cake
I stumbled upon this recipe from the archives of Dorie Greenspan's Blog, while searching for something I hadn't baked before, and a cake I could make in my cast-iron. I've baked a few traditional Scandinavian recipes, like Lussebullar (Saffron Buns), Swedish Butter Cookies, & Æbleskiver, which have become a tradition to make at Christmas time, ever since I discovered my Mom's cast-iron Æbleskiver pan.
I have an odd relationship with Marzipan, an almond-paste, malleable like fondant, but gritty with almond texture. Growing up, my Mormor would always buy Princess cake when birthdays rolled around, and I loved the sugary (always pink), subtly-almond Marzipan cover. Yet anytime the cute, hand-shaped candies arrived during the holidays, I was always disappointed by the strong Almond taste they possessed, and for years, projected my childhood remembrance and disdain on them. It wasn't until a few years ago, that I realized my tastes had changed, and I began to crave the nutty, fragrant taste of Marzipan.
This Swedish Visiting Cake has the almond essence of Marzipan, without the sticky, gritty texture, and is an easy bake when looking for an almond-fix. No one visited this weekend, but this cake is fitting even for a home-body like myself. So simple, and beautiful in appearance with the scattered almond-top. I will definitely make this again - especially since I now have an abundance of slivered almonds!