09 February 2011

Almond Torte

This is a great dessert and I have pretty much convinced myself that is is really more of a vitamin than a dessert.  It has very little white flour, instead uses ground almonds.  It is made with 6 eggs,  4 ounces of dark chocolate, a little cream, only a cup of sugar, and a little raspberry jam for fun.  I think it is more like a PowerBar.  OK, that is just rationalization, but I love this recipe none the less.  It's out of one of the more random cookbooks that I own:  The Sopranos Family Cookbook.  Yep, everybody's favorite mob family. Tony and Carmella have chapter and so do Artie Bucco and Paulie Gualtieri.  If you've never watched the show before, the characters like to eat.  A LOT.  They aren't small people, so go figure, they made a cookbook.

Anyway, some notes on this recipe.  The leavening agent for the cake is the egg whites.  It is a little difficult to incorporate the whites into the almond mixture all at once without deflating the whites.  I would recommend just adding a scoop or two of the egg whites to the almond mixture and combining.  Don't worry about being gentle with it,  all you want to do is lighten up the almond mix.  Then, once it is combined, add the remaining egg whites and fold in.  Here is a good link on how to fold egg whites into a thinker base, although, it is at the 17 minute point in the video, so unless you want to learn how to make a full souffle, fast forward to 17:00.  But all that being said.  Folding will help you keep the cake light.

Also, I'm sure you could use any sort of jam for the filling.  I'm sure strawberry would be good, or even apricot.  Just make sure, whatever you buy, that it is seedless.  I haven't done this yet, but I bet a little bit of Chambord would be delicious in the frosting.  Now I'm just brainstorming.  Have fun with it!

Almond Torte
Serves 8
Printable recipe

2 c blanched almonds
1 c sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 c seedless raspberry jam
4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c heavy cream
Sliced or slivered almonds for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter 2 9-inch layer cake pans.  Line the pans with circles of parchment paper.  Butter the paper and sprinkle the pans with flour.  Tap out excess.

In a food processor or blender, combine the almonds and 1/4 c of the sugar.  Grind the nuts very fine.  Blend in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until thick and light.  Beat in the remaining 3/4 c sugar and the extracts.  Stir in the almond mixture.

In a clean bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add one big scoop of egg whites to the almond/egg yolk mixture.  Stir in to lighten up the mixture (no need to be gentle here, just mix it in).  Then gently fold the remaining whites into the almond mixture with a rubber spatula.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched int he center.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Unmold the cakes and carefully peel off the paper.  Turn the cakes right side up and let cool completely.
Place 4 strips of wax or parchment paper around the edge of a cake plate.  Place one cake layer upside down on the plate.  Spread the jam evenly over the top.
 Place the second cake layer right side up on the first layer.
Break up the chocolate in to small pieces.  In a small heatproof bowl set over, not in, a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate with the heavy cream.
Stir until smooth.  Let the glaze cool slightly.
Pour the glaze onto the top of the cake.  Smooth the top with a metal spatula, allowing some of the chocolate to run down the sides of the cake.
 Then smooth the chocolate over the sides.  Decorate with slivered/sliced almonds (I like to put them around the sides of the cake--it covers up the rough edges I tend to create).  Let set briefly, then remove the paper strips.  Chill briefly to set the chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. Your cake looks fantastic! Such a delicious flavor combo and that chocolate finishes it off perfectly. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link your torte up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/02/sweets-for-saturday-4.html