Each spring, thankfully after the kids’ hockey season, I get busy with a few catering gigs. I’ve been fortunate to create desserts for the Fire & Ice gala in April and a few graduation and birthday celebrations in May. This year, in addition to my signature cheesecakes, I was asked to bake almond tortes for a graduation party using a family’s special recipe.
Since I had no idea what a torte was, I told the host I would give the recipe a try. I baked one and gave her a few slices to see if I had done it right. I wasn’t sure if the way I made it would live up to the way her friend makes them. But I knew from the moment the warm scent of this almond dessert floated through my kitchen, I would be pulling this cake from my oven many times to come.
Unlike cake, I’d describe the texture of this torte to resemble a dense blondie or brownie. It’s like a soft almond butter cookie dough center with a delicate crunch of slivered almonds and white sugar sprinkled on the top. You have to tip your head back if you eat this without a fork because the almonds trickle off the top.
I had to finish a bag of regular slivered almonds for this batch, but next time I’m using my Trader Joe’s honey roasted slivered almonds.
Did I make them for her graduation party? As we (don’t) really say in Minnesota – you betcha I did. Eight of them. With the hope of extras for their lake home freezer.
1-1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs beaten
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add sugar and beat 4-5 minutes until fluffy. Mix in the beaten eggs. Add the salt, almond extract and vanilla extract. Beat on high until combined.
Slowly add the flour, beating until combined and the batter is thick.
Line the bottom of an 8-inch or 9-inch round pan (I use my springform) with parchment paper (cut a circle just large enough to lay on the bottom of the pan by flipping the pan upside down and cutting the paper around the bottom surface). Lightly spray the pan.
Pour the torte batter into the prepared pan. Scatter the almonds on top and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or just until the top becomes light brown and crispy.
Cool completely before slicing and serving. Store in an airtight container up to 4 days. Can wrap tightly in freezer paper or bags and freeze up to 3 months.