This is another of those posts where I get to tell you how incredibly blown away I am by a recipe at once so simple, using only a handful of ingredients, yet achieving extraordinarily elegant and sophisticated results. How anything as easy to make as this Chocolate Almond Tweed Torte can have any right to impress anyone I don't know...but I'm not complaining. I just love it when that happens!
Not only do I not have time to complain, I don't have time anymore to seek out show-stopping impressive desserts that are certain to get high marks for technical merits. Having said that I also don't want to sacrifice points for artistic interpretation either.
But a "Tweed Torte"? I surprised myself for even stopping long enough to take a look at this dessert named for a scratchy, moisture resistant wool twill used for old coats and bad hats. This name didn't signal "sophisticated" to me but since I was desperate to audition some gluten free options for a future dinner gathering I was planning I decided to give it a go. Also, I had all the ingredients in the pantry and I just love it when that happens too.
It seems that Tweed Tortes are usually made with ground up walnuts but once I discovered that almonds, like chocolate, were also on the list of Top Ten Aphrodisiac Foods I decided I wanted to switch things up a bit in the name of love and so in they went. Almonds and chocolate are a natural combo so I knew I wouldn't be in any risky territory here.
The use of almonds here actually drives the dessert up a notch or two on the sophistication ladder suggesting less brownie in its flavor profile and instead giving the palette more of a Julia Child's famous Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat impression. And seriously, any time you can do something like while also adding in another food with aphrodisiac qualities to the mix, shouldn't you want to?
inspired by Alice Medrich
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 9 ounces 70% chocolate (bittersweet - good quality please)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 7 large egg whites (approximately 1 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Put oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan or spray with cooking spray. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade push the almonds with 1 tablespoon of the sugar until finely ground and pebble-y. Remove almonds to a bowl and wipe the processor bowl with a paper towel to remove oils. Add the chocolate and 1 tablespoon of sugar and pulse the chocolate until it crumbles up into a coarse meal of various sizes from small until no larger than 1/4 inch pieces. Add the chocolate to the almonds. Add salt and combine well and set aside.
With an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a large, clean, dry bowl at medium until the egg whites are creamy white and soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat at medium until the egg whites get classy and stiff, but not dry.
Pour half of the chocolate almond mixture over the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula until nearly incorporated. Add the remaining chocolate almond mixture and continue folding until evenly incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared spring-form pan and spread evenly with the spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the torte is puffed and golden brown on top and will spring back when gently touched with your fingers. You can insert a toothpick to test for doneness as well. Toothpick will come out moist and will have melted chocolate on it but it should not have any actual batter on it.
Cool the torte on a rack until just warm or room temperature. As it cools it will pull away from the pan.Where it doesn't you can use a small metal spatula or knife to run around the edge and separate the edges before removing the spring-form. Transfer to serving platter and serve with whipped cream.