The Christmas spirit is alive and well here in New England. Festive store windows are strung with lights, greenery and delicious confections. It's a time for hats, scarves and mittens - and of course, baking.
To me, there's nothing more thoughtful than being handed a beautifully wrapped homemade treat on the holidays.
This chocolate almond torte is a perfect holiday present. It's quick and easy and simply scrumptious. The batter alone is addictive. I know we're not supposed to eat batter but sometimes it's so good I can't help myself.
I actually made this cake for my fellow classmates who came from all over the world to join me in taking a semester long course in negotiation. It was a wonderful group of people who helped create an exciting, unique, fun and invaluable learning experience. Can you think of a better way to thank people than with dessert?
Class ended last night. It was sad to say goodbye but it was good to learn new skills and to make friends from Vienna to Venezuela.
I'd say dessert is a fantastic way to let people know you appreciate them. And every time you make the recipe, you'll be reminded of why you made it in the first place. With the gift of dessert you'll never forget the absolute joy in the eyes of friends when you hand them something homemade and chocolate.
Will you be baking any gifts this year? I certainly hope so.
Chocolate Almond Torte
200 g peeled almonds, chopped and toasted
200 g good quality dark chocolate, melted and cooled
200 g sugar
100 g butter
5 egg yolks
40 g potato starch
40 g cocoa powder
5 egg whites
1 pinch of cream of tartar
powdered sugar for dusting
Butter and coat a tart pan with cocoa powder.
Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
Cream butter until light. Add sugar and beat until fluffy (about 3 or 4 minutes). Scrape down bowl and add egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in potato starch and cocoa powder. Mix in melted chocolate and almonds.
In separate bowl beat egg whites with cream of tartar until peaks forms. The peaks should be firm but flop over a bit at the top when the whisk is pulled away. Fold the mixed egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
Pour mixture into tart pan until 3/4 full. I used an 8" tart pan and 2 mini pie tins to hold the overflow. Of course, you can make them in any size of shape that you'd like, just be sure to keep your eye on them so they don't overcook.
Bake 30-40 minutes until puffed and mostly cooked through. Remove from oven while it's slightly underdone, otherwise it will be very dry. Once cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. It's delicious served alone or with chocolate sauce.