Tuesday, January 15, 2013

carrot almond torte







This is a recipe for a lazy afternoon - or the day that you want to make a mess in the kitchen - whichever comes first. I hope you do choose one or the other because in spite of the reality that this is not a quick, slap-it-together-and-throw-it-in-the-oven kind of thing it is really not at all difficult just messy and step-py ... more than one bowl, two appliances, three spatulas, etc. It is not this carrot cake in all its rich deliciousness. It is a wonderful, clean, simple-flavoured torte that deserves to be enjoyed for just what it is. Made of egg whites, almonds, and carrots with a hint of cinnamon and sweetened with coconut palm sugar it is not only not bad for you but actively good. So make a mess in your kitchen, eat your torte, and feel good about yourself - even in mid-January (when we are all still quite committed to our good intentions!)

It is also a gluten free, refined sugar free cake and it is not a brick! My personal holy grail of gluten free/refined sugar free baking and I have sipped from it. Hallelujah!! If you wanted to use regular refined sugar the substitution is straight across one for one but you will cheat yourself. Just sayin' Of course, sometimes that just doesn't matter :)

We had a scoop of superb vanilla ice cream with our torte after Sunday dinner - good. But when we finished the last slice of cake the next day we ate it naked and it was ever-so-much better. It really does shine when it has the spotlight all to itself.

The recipe as written uses whole almonds ground in a food processor; if you wanted to hurry the process up and lose one appliance-use I would recommend using almond meal or flour (7.5 oz weighed on your kitchen scale).

carrot almond torte
(adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich)

1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) unblanched, whole almonds
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 cups (8 oz) lightly packed, finely grated, carrots
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Butter the sides and bottom of an 8-inch springform pan and preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Pulse the almonds with 2 Tbsp of the sugar in a food processor until very finely ground. You will want to watch the process quite closely as there is a fine line between finely ground almonds and almond butter. Set aside.

Stack several paper towels on the counter. Squeeze the grated carrots a handful at a time. (save the juice and have a mid-baking-project sip - or throw it out) You want to extract as much of the juice as possible so squeeze hard. Put the squeezed carrots on the paper towels, gather the edges of the towels together and squeeze again. Set aside.

Put the egg yolks, salt, cinnamon, almond extract, and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the mixture until thick and lighter in color. (the palm sugar does not dissolve as quickly or completely at this point as refined sugar but don't worry) Sprinkle the grated, squeezed carrots into the bowl but don't mix them in yet.

Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a separate large bowl until they are white and hold a soft shape. Sprinkle in the last 2 Tbsp of sugar and beat at high speed until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Scrape about a quarter of the egg whites into the bowl with the egg yolk mixture and carrots and fold together using a rubber spatula. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the bowl, pour the ground almonds over them and gently fold everything together. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden and the torte springs back when you press it gently. Cool completely on a wire rack.

This was at least as good the second day. But there wasn't much :)


1 comment:

nita.armstrong@gmail.com said...

this looks amazing Cheri! I never made the fruit cake this christmas . . . hopefully next year. but this I will make as soon as I get the chance.