Baking for Passover

Italian chocolate-almond torte

Italian chocolate-almond torte (Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
March 24, 2010

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Serves 10

Award-winning author Alice Medrich based this recipe in her book, “Pure Dessert,’’ on a torte in Claudia Roden’s “Book of Jewish Food.’’ The cake has no yolks, just whites, which are beaten and mixed with ground almonds, chopped chocolate, and sugar. It’s fairly easy to make, rich but not dense, with a pronounced nutty flavor. Sprinkle the top with unsweetened cocoa.

Butter (for the pan)
1 cup (5 ounces) unblanched or blanched whole almonds
7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting)
1 cup heavy cream, softly beaten with 1 tablespoon sugar (for serving)

1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with removable base. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper cut to fit it; butter the paper.

2. In a food processor, combine the almonds, chocolate, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Pulse until the almonds and chocolate are very finely chopped but not completely pulverized.

3. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are stiff but not dry.

4. With a large metal spoon, fold 1/3 of the nut mixture into the whites. Fold in half the remaining nut mixture, then the remaining mixture.

5. Spread the batter in the pan and smooth the top. Bake the torte for 25 to 30 minutes or until it rises and sets and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a little melted chocolate. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

6. Unlatch the spring, lift off the band, and use a wide metal spatula to slide the cake onto a platter, carefully removing the parchment paper. Let the cake cool completely.

7. Dust with cocoa. Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream.

Adapted from “Pure Dessert’’