Thursday, January 05, 2006
Flourless Almond Torte
Let me start by apologizing for the horrid lie I told in my last post. My most heartfelt apologies for leading you to believe that I had never made a cake that didn't come from a box. Unfortunately, my memory seems to be leaving me early in life. According to my mother, this runs in the family. She expressed this to me as she was apologizing. She had called to tell me that she had just discovered my birthday card in the backseat of her car. My birthday is 6 days before Christmas, and my parents have been under a lot of stress this year with opening their new business, so I had assumed it had just slipped past them. They hadn't forgotten my birthday entirely. They had a pot of burgundy Chrysanthemums delivered to my office on my birthday. Had it not been for the flowers, I surely would have mentioned it. I've lost my train of thought now....
Ahhh - the lie. It slipped my mind that I had baked another cake this year. I'm sure that it had slipped my mind because it isn't a conventional kind of cake. It isn't a cake in the sense that I have always thought of cakes. The recipe actually says it's a torte. I'm not sure what that means....let's look that up, shall we?
Torte: A rich cake made with many eggs and little flour and usually containing chopped nuts.
Okay. A torte is definitely a cake, and I am definitely a liar. The photo above is the all the evidence needed to convict me. The picture above was taken by me, of a cake I baked, that had absolutely nothing to do with a box. The eggs came from a carton, the sugar from a bag, the almonds came from a bag....hmmmm....I think I made this cake, er tortey sort of thingy from scratch.
It started with this post from our favorite Gluten-Free Girl. After reading it I was compelled by forces previously unknown to me to hunt down this recipe. It took several hours of internet searching to find exactly what I was looking for, but there it was. A gluten free cake reminiscent of my youth. As I mentioned in my previous post, the one where I lied, I am an Army brat. I lived in Germany for 7 years on and off growing up, and developed a fair taste for the pastries of Europe. We were a rotund family upon our final return when I was 14. My mother calls it the food across Europe tour. We just ate our way through as many countries as we could.
After my diagnosis last year, I thought that all the wonderful pastries in life were dead to me. Alas, Shauna discovered something that had I ever cooked in my life I might have known. Pastries are not made of wheat alone. This glorious torte came at a time before delicious gluten-free chocolate cake mixes. I was so excited as I set out to find all of the ingredients and get under way. It felt like the door to another world had creaked its way open and I walked through to a land where I wanted to spend time in the kitchen. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I was ready to find out.
With all of this build up it sounds like this must be difficult. Let's remember who is talking here though. I am the Anti-Chef. This recipe is so simple that it's a shame not to try it at least once. I even purchased a spring-form pan for just this occasion. I have used it quite a few times since, but it was christened with a flourless almond torte.
When complete it sat on the plate like a giant cookie. It comes out very dense with a crisp outer layer and a moist chewy center. It holds together very well, and I topped it with sugar melted in lemon juice. I took the leftovers to work and fed my department. It goes down happily with a hot cup of coffee in the morning.
Again my apologies for telling such a fib. I've made a cake. From scratch. Really....
(Looking back through my notes I discover that recipe I ended up using actually calls it a cake, not a torte, and it's from Spain. Details.....)
Flourless Almond Cake