Bienmesabe (Almond and cinnamon custard)
Traditional recipe in Tenerife
The name "bienmesabe" (tastes good to me) is given to a wide variety of dishes throughout the Spanish-speaking world, not all of them desserts and often prepared using different ingredients. In the Canary Islands it is a traditional dessert made from almonds, sponge cake, eggs, sugar and lemon. Its origin is probably Arabic, though the islands look upon it as their own. Preparation: Water and sugar is heated and once hot lemon peel and a cinnamon stick are added to make a syrup which, on lifting the stirring spoon should form a thick strand.
When ready put approximately one third of this syrup aside.
Peel and grind and the almonds and add them to the rest of the syrup. Put them on a low flame and gently stir. Leave them to boil for fifteen to twenty minutes (experts say when the almonds start to "jump" they are ready).
Take the mixture off of the flame and remove the cinnamon stick. Continue stirring while slowly adding the egg yolks that you have previously prepared and beaten (for this reason it is useful to have the help of an assistant). Everything is then heated in a double-boiler/bain-marie until it turns a pretty colour.
In the bottom of small, individual dishes or in a large dessert dish place sponge cake/biscuits dipped in the syrup that you set aside (some people add a few drops of rum of cognac to enhance its aroma) and on top spread the "bienmesabe" mixture. Serve it cold.
500 g of almonds
500 g of sugar
1/2 a litre of water
18 egg yolks
Grated lemon peel
12 sponge cakes or 'lengua de gato' (cats' tongues) biscuits or similar