There is nothing more pleasing to me than a decadent chocolate dessert (a sublime mousse, a rich flourless chocolate cake, piping hot fudge on ice cream). After that comes almond cookies, anything from tricolor cookies to macarons to straight up marzipan. So, of course, when I found this recipe, I definitely heard a KA-CHING somewhere and my eyes reflected cupcake silhouettes or something. A few departures from the original Epicurious recipe: as in all of my baking, I use raw sugar. And instead of slivered almonds like the original recipe, I just use almond meal, using a scant 1 1/2 cups instead of a full 1 1/2 cups to account for settling and density of ground almonds vs. slivered.I’m not sure why the recipe called for a 1/2 tsp of lemon zest. I didn’t find it added anything to the flavor (it was way overpowered by the almond extract). My guess is because Capri (which is off the Amalfi coast) is brimming with lemons, some the size of pineapples, so they probably just add it to everything. This recipe was also perfect for feeding my almond meal obsession. I just love adding it to everything in lieu of some amount of flour. It adds such a nice texture to otherwise plain jane pancakes or sugar cookies. As you can see, there was some spillage. I won’t point fingers, but if I did they might point down. I am terrible at clearing counter space. And yes, that is Pam in the background that I used for greasing my springform pan instead of the butter the recipe so clearly stated to use. I haven’t noticed a difference…have you? The torte’s not so sexy close-up. Folding the whipped egg whites in three batches. So proud of myself for not deflating (it)! This is just seconds after it had a close encounter with a toddler with a truck in hand. It barely squeezed through. We whipped out the extra fancy serving dishes and silverware for this torte. Actually my husband and his brother were so eager to dive into it, I had to get up before I could finish my meal and scramble to get the camera before this precious first slice entered into the oblivion. Don’t be sad when your torte deflates. It’s an egg thing. You probably won’t even notice since you’ve taken a bite of chocolate heaven are doubly smacked in the face with almond flavor (both meal and extract), like Billy Crystal’s consigliere in Analyze This. Think, chocolate macaron meets rainbow cookie meets brownie. Really, really good with a dollop of homemade sweetened cream (as opposed to the powdered sugar the original recipe suggests).
On another note…GIVEAWAY TIME! Enter here for a chance to win a $50 gift card to my favorite cookware/bakeware/serveware/specialty food store Sur La Table! Thanks to all my readers for keeping me going!
Recipe from Epicurious.
- 1 1/2 cups blanched slivered almonds (or scant 1 1/2 cups almond meal)
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel (optional)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled (I did not cool mine)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Combine almonds and 1/3 cup sugar in processor. Blend until almonds are very finely ground. Transfer almond mixture to medium bowl; do not clean processor. Add chocolate and 1/3 cup sugar to processor. Blend until chocolate is finely ground but not beginning to clump, about 45 seconds; stir into almond mixture. Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl until mixture falls in heavy ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in almond extract and lemon peel. Fold in chocolate-almond mixture, then butter.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into chocolate batter in three additions. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 40 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.) Cut around pan sides to loosen; release sides. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
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