Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Almond Torte with Sugared Apricots

This is another recipe I saw on Orangette. It looked delicious, and when I saw baskets of apricots on sale at the local fruit stand, I just couldn’t resist. I’m glad I didn’t! You can also make this recipe by replacing the ground almonds with flour (as with most cake recipes). The apricots sank into the cake, where they turned soft and created pockets of fruit. It was an excellent cake. You could also use plums or slivers of peaches for this.

1/3 cup finely ground blanched almonds
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (or margarine)
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6 ripe apricots, halved and pitted
1-2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Set an oven rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350 °F. Prepare an ungreased 9-inch springform pan by laying parchment paper over the loose bottom of the mold, then closing the mold on top of it; cut away the excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl (or the bowl of stand mixer), beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the dry ingredients and the eggs and beat to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed. Do not overmix. The batter will be pale yellow and very thick.

Pour and scrape the batter into the pan, and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly.

Arrange the apricots cut-side-up on top of the batter, and sprinkle them with sugar. If they’re particularly sweet, you should only need about 1 tablespoon, but if they’re only so-so, you might want up to two.

Slide the pan into the oven, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven, and let cool on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around the perimeter of the cake; then release the sides of the pan. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm, preferably with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

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