Monday, May 6, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Torta Caprese - Capri Chocolate Almond Cake / How to Separate Eggs

Mother's Day is this Sunday.
Time to make a nice dessert if you've invited Mom to a family dinner.
A dessert that can serve a crowd, if you know what I mean.

Bobby Bacala doesn't have Paulie Walnuts' reputation as a Mama's boy.
But Bobby does have some fantastic dessert recipes in his chapter
If I Couldn't Eat, I'd F**king Die in Artie Bucco's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.

I know Bobby usually writes about complicated recipes.
Don't panic.
Torta Caprese is an easy light dessert.
Be warned, it does have a half dozen eggs in it.
But a small slice, with lots of fresh fruit, should be okay.

If serving this to your Mom is the worst thing you've ever done,
well… you're doing pretty good.

Hint about separating eggs:
Before doing any mixing, let the eggs sit at room temperature about 10 minutes.
Then separate the yolks from the whites.
An easy way to do this is to tap the egg against the edge of a bowl then,
while having an open hand over the bowl, split the eggshell over your open hand.
Allow the yolk to rest in your palm and let the white ooze between your fingers into a clean mixer bowl.
The yolks can go into any clean bowl or measuring cup.

                        Torta Caprese

In a blender or food processor grind very fine
8 ounces shelled almonds (about 1/2 cups)

8 ounces semisweet chocolate
Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 350ยบ
Grease a 9-inch springform pan
Line the bottom of the pan with wax paper or parchment.
Grease the paper.
Dust the bottom with flour and tap out the excess.

In a large mixer bowl, beat at high speed
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
3/4 Cup sugar
Beat until the egg mixture is very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add, one at a time
6 large egg yolks
Beat well after each addition.

Stir in
the cooled melted chocolate
the ground almonds

In a clean large mixer bowl, beat at low speed until foamy
6 large egg whites
pinch of salt
Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in
1/4 Cup sugar
Beat until the egg whites hold soft peaks when the beaters are lifted.

Fold about a quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture.
Gently fold in the remaining whites, about a quarter at a time.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 45 minutes.
The edge of the cake will be set.
The center of the cake will still be soft and moist.
Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
Invert the cake onto the rack and remove the cake from the pan.
Carefully peel off the paper.
Invert the cake so it is right side up.
Let cake cool completely on the rack.

Before serving, dust with
Confectioners' sugar

Serve with
whipped cream (optional)

Would I make Torta Caprese again?
And to lighten the calorie load, I'd serve it with sliced strawberries.
Even a Mom likes to watch her figure.

One recipe down.  Sixteen more to go.

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