It is believed that this cake was first served in 1177. to Pope Alexander III when he blessed Rab island Cathedral. What is certain is that it was a specialty during the rule of Venice over 300 years ago, and it was only served in the homes of island’s wealthy families.
The original recipe and all the details of it’s preparation was a secret, and only a few women knew it and passed it to their descendants. Today, it is a must try when visiting the island.
My humble attempt of this cake looks nothing like the real one, but the taste is wonderful, and almost indescribable.
Dough: Knead dough with 200 g sifted flour, 2 Tbsp pork fat, 2 beaten eggs, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp water and 1/2 Tbsp Maraschino (substitute with cherry brandy if you can’t find it). If necessary add more flour or water to get the dough like for homemade pasta. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool.
Filling: Mix together 500 g ground blanched almonds, 500 g sugar, 6 Tbsp Maraschino, zest of 1/2 of lemon, zest of 1/2 orange and 3 eggs.
Assembly: Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Take one part and flatten it very thin. Cut a snail looking shape using pasta wheel like on this photo. Place filling on it, leaving the edges of the dough free. Flatten the second piece of dough and using pasta wheel, cut out ribbons, 1,5-2 cm width. Brush the edges of the snail with cold water and start sticking ribbons on it’s sides, wrinkling them with your hands (photo). Bake in a preheated oven on 100°C for 30-40 minutes. When it cools, dust generously with powdered sugar.
Video on making Rab cake.