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Traditionally, this is a rather large cake. I prefer to make a smaller, thinner one. However, to honor the tradition, I am giving in square brackets the quantities for the larger version. A dollop of vanilla ice cream is a good accompaniment for this cake, as it provides a nice contrast of texture.

Makes 8 [16] servings

3/4 [1 1/2 ] cup pastry flour

2/3 [1 1/3 ] cup stone-ground cornmeal

1/2 [1] cup vanilla sugar (recipe below), or 1/2 [1] cup sugar and 1/2 [1] teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 [1 1/3] cup lightly toasted and coarsely ground almonds (instructions below)

1/2 [1] teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 [2] egg yolks

6 tablespoons [1 and 1/2 stick] butter, softened and cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On a clean surface, create a mound with all the dry ingredients. Make a small hollow space in the center and place the egg yolk[s] there. With your fingertips, mix the yolk[s] and the portion of dry ingredients that immediately surrounds it until the yolk is no longer running. The dry ingredients at the periphery of the mound will remain dry.

With your hands, crumble the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is homogeneous, though not bound together.

Gather the crumbles with your hands and place them in an 8-inch [10-inch] spring-form pan. The cake will be about 1/2-inch [1-inch] thick.

Shake the pan lightly to even out the crumbles and avoid empty spaces. Do not press the crumbles or the cake will become hard.

Cook for about 25 [45] minutes, watching carefully. This cake is thin and therefore very sensitive. When a toothpick comes out clean and the edge is golden brown, remove from oven. (The toothpick test is more useful with the thicker cake, the color test with the thinner one.)

Let cool without removing from the pan.

Break with your hands to make portions.

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