A couple of days ago I went grocery shopping with the 'rents (pathetic I know – don't rub it in!), and I spotted special offer on baking chocolate much to my utter delightment and I ended up buying 6 bars! So naturally the next baking assignment had to do with chocolate .. and lots of it! I came across this recipe while browsing this amazing website www.joyofbaking.com , while at school (it was a free period – honest!) and I had instantly fallen in love with the recipe but as it required cream of tartar and my then not so experienced self had no idea what cream of tartar was I saved the recipe hoping one day I'd be bold enough to try this wonderful torte! And as fate had planned I came across an article that stated it was absolutely O.K. to substitute cream of tartar with lemon juice or vinegar (for every 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar is required). And so I made it with high .. high hopes which and my patience was rewarded as this was seriously chocolaty and the almonds gave a wonderful taste and texture in the background.
Chocolate Almond Torte
1) 7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2) 11 tablespoons (150 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3) 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
4) 4 large eggs, separated
5) 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6) 1 cup (100 grams) finely ground almonds (Ground 1 cup of blanched or sliced toasted almonds in your food processor)
7) 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (or ½ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place oven rack in the middle of the oven.
2) Place the sliced or blanched almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool. Once completely cooled, place the nuts in a blender or small food processor and process until finely ground.
Note: The almonds need to be at room temperature before grinding to prevent them from clumping. If you find the almonds still clump when you ground them, add about 1 tablespoon (13 grams) of the sugar from the recipe. The sugar will help prevent clumping as it absorbs any oil exuded from the almonds.
3) Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and line an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
4) Separate the cold eggs, placing the egg yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until they reach room temperature (about 30 minutes).
5) Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat.
6) Meanwhile place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the yolks and sugar until pale and thick (about 2 to 3 minutes). Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract.
7) Fold in the ground almonds.
8) In a clean bowl, place the egg whites and whisk until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar and whisk until stiff peak forms. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the rest of the whites and mix only until incorporated.
9) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake has a few moist crumbs.
10) Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
11) The cake will rise during baking but falls during cooling, leaving a crisp and cracked crust.
12) Once cool, run a spatula around the inside of the pan before releasing the sides.
13) If not serving immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature.
14) Dust with powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar, and serve with whipped cream.
P.s. I made this two days ago and its gone so this morning I got up super early (pilates – I think we've established that by now) and I made a caramel honeycomb cheesecake! Recipe to follow soon. The cheese cake is in the oven as we speak!:D