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This creamy Almond Torte is light and feathery. Made off thick layers of custard cream and a meringue-like almond cake that serves as a base. Topped with homemade whipped cream, glace cherries and extra toasted almonds on the sides. This dessert is truly, a little piece of heaven!
In Greece, we call it Tourta Nougatina and can be found in every pastry shop (Nougat refers to anything that contains meringue and nuts).
I believe you will like these also: -Greek Shortbread Almond Cookies (Kourabiethes)
A Torte (Tourta) is not an easy dessert to make that's why it's mostly made and sold on pastry shops. It's surely though one of the best desserts you can make if you do have some baking skills.
The reason it's so hard is that it has lots of different steps and stages (cake base, pastry cream, toppings) and the putting-it-all-together part may be tricky when you use pastry cream and a thin layer of cake as a base. That's why professionals always use this tool to achieve the perfectly even shape all around.
This Almond torte recipe is not a homemade version but a professional one. It is, as it is actually made in a pastry shop. And although it has an advanced difficulty level if you follow my instructions and tips all the way through, you can easily make it at home. But let's make a few things completely clear before we start.
Whats A Torte?
A torte is a thin layered cake that's either served on its own or with thick layers of cream in between. Most of the times the cake is soaked with syrup (sometimes even flavored with a liqueur or brandy).
The Difference With An Almond Torte...
The cake base for an Almond Torte uses powdered almonds instead of flour. Its texture is something between a sticky chewy meringue and a cake.
MAKING A TORTE BASE
A torte base is usually made with eggs, sugar, flour, and sometimes ground nuts. It's a very airy type of cake that you cut into thin layers. It's not supposed to be dense like a cake, but feathery. So it will stand between thick layers of cream without weighing the cream down.
When making a torte base you use only eggs as a leavening agent. No baking soda or baking powder. So how do you do this? You beat the eggs at high speed, along with sugar until they get very airy and whitish in color. You gently incorporate the flour and bake.
In this Almond torte recipe though you beat yolks and egg whites separately and then combine with lots of powdered almonds instead of flour. This way you create a meringue-like sticky & feathery cake to use as a base for this light almond torte.
HOW TO BAKE A TORTE BASE
There are four ways you can do this.
The first and easiest way is to divide the cake batter into 3 round 9-inch cake pans. This way you have three evenly shaped round cakes.
The second way is to use only your cake pan's ring as a mold if you don't have 3 pans to use. Lay a piece of parchment paper on top of a sheet pan or your ovens tray. Again divide cake batter into 3, this time using the cakes ring as a mold for each cake. You will need more than one pan to fit 3 cakes.
The third way is to use a piping bag to form 3 round cakes (just like you do with meringues).
The fourth and hardest way is to simply add the batter into one cake pan. But will take more time to bake (about 40-50 minutes). And the hardest part about this is that you will have to cut it into 3 evenly thin cakes. Which is impossible to do without using a serrated cake knife. Since this cake is very airy and crumbly. You can also use this tool if you're into cake & torte making.
The Torte Cream
Most of the times, classic pastry cream is used as a filling to a torte. In this recipe pastry cream is combined with some homemade whipped cream, to make it, even more, airier and light. Check out this step by step instructions on how to make Pastry cream (or Creme Patisserie as it's originally called) if you have never made it before.
The most important and a bit frustrating part of making a torte is the resting time it requires. Wait for the cake base to cool down, wait for the pastry cream to cool, assemble the torte and again wait until it gets firm enough in the fridge before you cut and serve. And even though you will have to wait for hours before you can actually finish this torte, do be patient. Resting time is very important in order to be able to assemble this delicate dessert properly.
Creamy Greek Vanilla Almond Torte (Tourta Nougatina)
For The Cake Base:
- 6 eggs yolks and whites separated (cold from the fridge)
- 325 grams sugar
- 1,5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 200 grams powdered almonds
- a few drops vanilla extract
For The Pastry Cream :
- 1 liter fresh milk
- 150 grams sugar
- 6 eggs
- 100 grams cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For The Whipped Cream:
- 1 liter heavy cream 35% fat
- 100 grams sugar
- 8-10 fresh lemon juice
- 60 grams flaked almonds
For The Cake Base:
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 356°F.
- Combine powdered almonds and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Take 250 grams out of the 325 grams of the sugar that's called for the cake base and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment on, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Then start adding little by little, the 250 grams of sugar. Keep beating until meringue looks thick with stiff picks on. Then set aside.
- Again using an electric mixer with the whisk on, beat egg yolks on high speed. Slowly add the remaining 75 grams of sugar. Keep beating until eggs look foamy, have tripled in size and look whitish in color.
- Using a silicone spatula, combine meringue with egg yolks gently. Stir in the powdered almonds.
- Divide batter evenly into 3 well-greased round cake pans (9-inch / 23-cm). Bake for 10-15 minutes.
- Prick with a knife to check if cakes are cooked in the center. Once they're done, let them cool completely at room temperature. About 3-4 hours.
For The Pastry Cream:
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch and eggs. Set aside.
- In a medium cooking pot, add the milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Heat over medium-high heat.
- Once mixture reaches a boiling point ( the steamy stage before it bubbles) remove pot from heat. Using a ladle, start pouring slowly the milk into egg mixture while whisking constantly.
- Add at least ½ of the milk into the egg mixture, then transfer back to the pot.
- Transfer pot back to medium-high heat and keep whisking until cream thickens.
- Cover the surface of the cream with plastic wrap so it won't form a skin on top. Set cream aside for a few hours until it reaches room temperature.
For The Whipped Cream:
- Add cream in mixers bowl and with whisk attachment on, beat on high speed until cream starts to thicken slightly. Start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Once sugar is fully incorporated, and cream looks thick enough (do not over beat) transfer to the fridge.
- Once pastry cream has cooled completely, transfer to the mixers's bowl and start beating on low speed with the whisk on.
- Once cream looks smooth and creamy again, take 300 grams of whipped cream, and add to the cream. Beat until completely incorporated but do, not overbeat. Transfer cream into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Save remaining whipped cream for decorating on top.
- Place the first cake on your cake stand. Spread a thick layer of the pastry cream evenly on top (using about the one-third of the cream).
- Place the first cake on your cake stand. Spread a thick layer of cream evenly on top (about the one-third of the cream) using a cake spatula. Do exactly the same for the next two layers.
- Spread the whipped cream on top and all around the sides. You may do this with the cake spatula, and decorate the top, using a fork to create lines on the cream. Or use a pipping bag.
- Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Toss in the flaked almonds. Shake the pan to flip the almonds every 3-4 seconds so they won't burn. Once they get a nice golden brown color transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
- Use the flaked almonds to decorate the cake all around the sides. Add the glace cherries on top. Ideally refrigerate cake for 5-6 hours before cutting and serving.
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