My aunt calls the dessert “Cake Zemfira, but any mention or sight of it never fails to put me in the mindset of a nightingale.
The association goes back to one beautiful evening when, at a get-together at my aunt’s, just as we were being served the dessert, Zemfira, one of the guests started recounting a conversation he said he’d overheard earlier that day between a Russian-speaking lecturer and a student whose command of the language was somewhat poor.
“Why are you late this time? the lecturer had said, his tone annoyed.
“You see, I stayed awake all night and only fell asleep at dawn, and…
“How could you possibly have let that happen? the teacher inquired, not without sarcasm.
“It was a bird, Professor! It just didn’t stop singing!
“Yes, a bird! What do you call it in Russian? I forget the word.
“Maybe, a nightingale?
“Yes, yes, a nightingale! The whole night through, the nightingale kept on chirping, “Caw! Caw!
I can’t help recalling this story every time there’s a slice of the delicious cold cake “Zemfira lying on my plate. The cake is a true bouquet of flavours. It’s sweet, acidic and spicy at the same time. But the best thing about it is that making it is as easy as pie. Except it’s really easy, because it doesn’t need to be baked. Now, here the recipe goes!
- What you need:
- Zephyr (a variety of marshmallow) (note: it must be white, without any dyes or flavor additives) – 10 pieces
- Butter – 200 gr.
- Condensed milk – 200 gr.
- Walnuts – 200 gr.
- Lemons – four largish pieces
- Dark chocolate – 50 gr.
Before we start doing anything with the marshmallow, let’s make the cream.
Allow the butter to soften. Place it in a bowl and start beating it with a mixer. As you do so, pour in the condensed milk a little at a time. Add the walnuts (we will have ground them in a blender by this time), the juice from the lemons and continue to mix until the mass has the consistency of a thin sour cream.
Now it’s time to cut the Zephyr chunks into even thin slices. Once you’ve done that, arrange a layer of them on the bottom of a largish bowl. Slices should be placed as close as possible to one another, but make sure that they don’t overlap. Cover them with a generous amount of the cream. Repeat the layers, finishing with cream. Put it in the refrigerator and – if it is possible – out of your mind for a couple of hours.
After the painful two-hour wait, take it out of the refrigerator. Run a knife along the edges of the cake and against the sides of the bowl to loosen it. Place a large plate over the bowl, turn the bowl upside down and carefully remove it. Sprinkle the cake with grated chocolate and voilà – the Zemfira is ready to be enjoyed.
Tea, juice or compote – any drink goes well with this dessert.
Published on 21.07.2016