Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chocolate-Almond Torte with Chocolate Glaze

My first attempt at a flourless baked good was originally scheduled to round out the giant passover meal but was postponed due to the sheer volume of food produced that weekend. Actually, that's a lie. I substituted a different dessert because it looked a whole heck of a lot simpler. On a whim, after making the Chicken and Vegetable Tart, I figured I'd give this torte a whirl. The project ended up dragging on over a few days and while the glaze didn't turn out as it should've, the results were superb.

Chocolate-Almond Torte with Chocolate Glaze
8 oz. whole blanched almonds (about 1 1/2 cups), toasted
1 c sugar, divided
8 oz. 60% to 65% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c unsalted butter or margarine
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp coffee-flavored liqueur or strong coffee
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp light corn syrup
6 oz. 60% to 65% bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Blanch the almonds by allowing them to boil in water 1-3 minutes or until some of them float.

Drain almonds and peel them by pinching each one between forefinger and thumb.

Toast the almonds in the oven 6-9 minutes or until fragrant and just browned.

Process almonds and 1/4 cup of the sugar in food processor until almonds are finely ground.

Melt 8 oz. chocolate and butter in medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Cool until warm, not hot.
Completely melted in 5 minutes, I let it cool 30.

Beat egg yolks and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl at medium speed 2 minutes or until pale yellow and thick.

Beat in vanilla.

At low speed, beat in chocolate mixture until blended.

Beat in ground almonds.
The texture is like stiff Play-Doh!

Beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl at medium-high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form.
Over 13 minutes of beating the egg white volume quadrupled and I don't think the peaks were stiff yet.

Fold whites into chocolate mixture in three parts; pour into pan.
This was a little difficult at first, but after the second third of egg whites were incorporated, the batter became much less viscous.

Bake 40 to 43 minutes or until top crust is firm when touched and center is moist but not liquid. (Don’t overbake.) Top crust may crack slightly.

Place on wire rack; immediately run knife around inside of pan to loosen cake from sides.

Cool completely in pan. Remove pan sides. (Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely and store at room temperature.)

I removed the sides but then returned them when storing the cake overnight.

Meanwhile, combine liqueur, water and corn syrup in small bowl. Melt 6 oz. chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan; whisk in corn syrup mixture.

Spread over cake, allowing glaze to drip down sides. Let stand 45 minutes or until set.

The glaze didn't drip at all as it was more like paste.

It's like a giant frosted brownie. Brownie-with-nut lovers out there have to try this. Anyone feeling forlorn about a gluten-free diet has to try this. The almonds really shine here and that they are blanched eliminates that weird bitter almond-skin flavor which is simply amazing. The cake isn't crazy chocolatey by itself and the glaze is a chocolate lovers must-have. Next time, I'll definitely use the coffee called for in the glaze portion of the recipe and see if I can get it to look as beautiful as it should.

  • almonds: $2.10
  • sugar: $0.36
  • chocolate: $10.50
  • butter: $0.42
  • eggs: $1.89
  • vanilla extract: $0.07
  • corn syrup: $0.09
Total: $15.43 or $1.29 for each of 12 servings.