If you’ve been reading food blogs for at least a couple of years, this recipe would be nothing new to you. Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking: From My Home to Yours has earned quite a following, especially when Tuesdays with Dorie set out to bake each recipe in the book in 2008. Of course, I’m late to the blogging game but not too late to add this lovely, easy, decadent chocolate treat to my cooking repertoire.
This was my contribution to the Easter festivities yesterday. I wanted to make something that wouldn’t take hours to prepare but wouldn’t compromise on the Wow! factor either. My family gave it a thumbs up, so it’s a winner for me. Better yet, the ganache set properly this time around compared to the runny version I ended up with a few months ago.
Don’t judge this dainty little torte when you first make it. At 8 inches in diameter, it’s tiny in stature but not in flavor. The amaretti/almond/chocolate base provides just enough substance without being cloying. Just plain good if you ask me.
- 6 Large double Amaretti di Saronno or 18 mini amarettini
- 3/4 cup almonds (blanched or not; whole, sliced or slivered)
- 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
For the Glaze:
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp water (I used about 1 1/2 tbsp)
For the Almond Whipped Cream (Optional)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 1 1/2 tsp confectioner’s sugar
1 or 2 amaretti or amarettini, crumbled, or a few spoonfuls of toasted sliced almonds for decoration
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter an 8×2 inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment or wax paper and butter the paper. Dust the inside of the pan with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Put the amaretti and almonds in a food processor and pulse to grind them finely and evenly. Turn out onto a piece of wax paper and set aside.
Put the butter, sugar and eggs into the processor and process for about 3 minutes, until the batter is very smooth and has a satiny sheen. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed so the ingredients blend evenly. Pour in the amaretti and almonds and the melted chocolate and pulse just until they are thoroughly incorporated. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out almost clean–streaky is more what you’re looking for. The cake will dome slightly and the top will look dry; it might even crack–don’t worry. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool for 15 minutes.
Run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake onto the rack. The cake will be very thin. Peel off the paper liner, invert the cake and cool to room temperature right side up.
When you are ready to glaze the cake, put the cake, still on the rack, over a sheet of wax paper (the drip catcher).
For the Glaze:
Put the chopped chocolate in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup or in a bowl with a spout.
Stir the cream, sugar and water together in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait for one minute. Then, using a small rubber spatula, gently stir until the glaze is smooth, blended and shiny. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and, with a long metal icing spatula, spread it over the top, allowing it to spill over the sides of the cake; then smooth the glaze over the sides. Refrigerate the cake for about 3o minutes to set the glaze.
For the Almond Whipped Cream (I haven’t tried this yet):
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a medium bowl, whip the cream on medium-low speed until it holds soft peaks. Beat in the almond extract. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into the bowl and fold it into the cream with a rubber spatula.
Slice the cake and top each with a spoonful of almond whipped cream, if you have it, and a sprinkling of crushed amaretti or toasted almonds.