Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Almond Torte with Raspberry Jam and Chocolate Glaze

Father's Day is coming.
It's time to buy a gift.
Gather the family.
Feed the family.

Now, lots of Dads love to show off at the grill.
Perfect.  That takes care of the main course.
All you have to do is provide a suitably festive dessert.
No, a bucket of ice cream won't quite cut it.

Artie's wife Charmaine has a chapter called Cooking for the Whole Famiglia 
in The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
Charmaine's recipes usually come in a 'for 8 / for 50 format'.
Handy if you're cooking for lots of happy customers.
But her recipe for Almond Torte is just your basic 'serves 8' recipe.

I'll bet it's a Father's Day favourite of Artie's.
Maybe she whips this up for many family gatherings.
And so should you.

                        Almond Torte

Serves 8

Place in a bowl
6 large eggs
Let the eggs come to room temperature (about 10 minutes).

In a blender combine
2 Cups blanched almonds
1/4 Cup white sugar
Grind the nuts very fine.
Blend in
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350ยบ
Grease and flour 2  9 inch round pans
Line the bottom of the 2 pans with wax paper circles.
Grease the wax paper.
Dust with flour and tap out the excess.

Take the 6 large eggs and separate them, placing the whites in a mixer bowl 
and the yolks in a large mixer bowl.
Whip the 6 egg whites until soft peaks form.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the 6 egg yolks until thick and light.
Beat in 
3/4 Cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Stir in the ground almond mixture.
Gently fold the egg whites into the almond/egg yolk mixture.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
When touched in the centre, the cake should spring back.
Place the pans on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the pans and peel off the paper.
Turn the cakes right side up.
Let cakes cool completely on the rack.

Place strips of wax paper around the edges of a cake plate.
Place one cake layer upside down on the plate.
Over the top surface spread evenly
1/2 Cup seedless raspberry jam
Place the second layer right side up in the first layer.

Break into small pieces in a small heatproof bowl
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
Place the bowl over, not in, a pan of simmering water.
When the chocolate starts to melt, stir in
1/2 Cup heavy cream
Stir until smooth.
Let the glaze smooth slightly.
Pour the glaze over the top of the cake.
Allowing some of the chocolate to drip down the sides of the cake, 
smooth the top of the cake with a spatula.
Smooth the chocolate over the sides.
Let the chocolate harden, then remove the wax paper strips.
Chill briefly before serving.

Would I make Almond Torte again?
Yes, and not just for Father's Day.
It's light but tastes rich.
Although I would just leave the chocolate drips on the sides as they are.
I think it looks prettier that way.

One recipe down.  Four more to go.

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