I would love to start out this post by sharing with you great tales of passion and unrequited love, since our theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs is "That's Amore". Truth is, I'm just all out of time this week for lengthy tales and sharing. So, instead I'm going to share with you my favourite love poem, and then I'm going to share with you a slice of this Amaretti Torta from our current food goddess, Giada de Laurentiis, who I'm sure is no stranger to love (I mean seriously, just look at her). So, first up, here's the poem ...
"i carry your heart with me"
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
- by E E Cummings
Now on to the cake. I've told you before that I can't bake, and it is absolutely true that I can't. So you could have absolutely knocked me over with a feather when I took my first mouthful of this and it was so good I almost swooned. I was somehow expecting moist and kind of dense (maybe because my baked goods almost always end up being rather dense, need I say more). Well, it is indeed moist, but also beautifully light. It's not overly rich, and the bitter almond taste of the amaretti cookies and the bitterness of the marmalade cuts through the sweetness, in quite an unexpected way. The overall quality of this cake is definitely more delicate than it looks, and the taste is bitter-sweet - rather like love itself don't you think.
I made a couple of minor changes - firstly I used dark, bitter chocolate chips instead of the semi-sweet ones that were called for; secondly, the original recipe called for two tablespoons of an orange-flavoured liqueur such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier - since I didn't have any of those I used a combination of vanilla extract and rum. I love bitter flavours, and so I adore the marmalade topping on this, but if that's not your thing apricot or even raspberry jam would make a great substitute.
Amaretti Torta Recipe
Adapted from recipe by Giada de Laurentiis
From Giada's Kitchen
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
20 amaretti cookies
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
225g (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 large free-range organic eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup orange marmalade
8 amaretti cookies, crushed
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease a 25 cm (10 inch) round, springform cake pan, lining the base with baking parchment paper.
Put the 20 amaretti cookies and chocolate chips into the bowl of a food processor, and blitz until the mixture is very finely chopped. Set aside.
Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and, using an electric beater, cream until pale yellow. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each one, before adding the next. Once all the eggs have been added, continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add the vanilla and rum. Then with the mixer on low speed, add the flour and the amaretti/chocolate mixture, mixing well after each addition.
In another bowl, and using clean beaters, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add approximately a third of the beaten egg whites to the cake batter and mix until combined and batter is slightly loosened. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until just barely combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, gently level the top. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool in its tin, on a wire rack, for about 10 minutes, then turn out of the tin and allow to cool to room temperature. Spread the marmalade evenly over the top of the cake, and sprinkle the crushed amaretti cookies over the top.
This is still beautifully moist on the second day, and I can see that it will keep for several more days. It's also great for breakfast - don't raise your eyebrows at me - it has marmalade on it, that makes it breakfast food!
I hope you'll give this Torta a try and share it with someone you love.
Interested in getting to know Giada a bit better? Then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all been cooking up ....
.... or check out Giada's Kitchen and many of her other titles, available from Amazon, Book Depository UK and Fishpond NZ
This post is also a contribution to Make it with ..... Mondays challenge almonds - the linky will remain open until Monday 21 February, so keep those almond recipes coming. Remember you can use almonds in any form - ground, whole, almond milk, almond liqueur, almond cookies, almond extract - whatever tickles your almond fancy.