Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hazelnut Cake (Torta di Nocciole)


It may not look like a dessert, but this little gem is packed with flavors.  As much crushed hazelnuts as sugar in the recipe, this is a nutty sweet/savory cake, perfect to serve with a little fruit...


Like Peaches!

The Dessert is texturally dry.  I had some peaches I had canned over the summer.  I used the simple peach syrup in the jar to add a little moisture to the cake.  It was wonderful.

Making the cake is very easy.  It does call for separated eggs, stiff peak whipped egg whites and crushing the nuts.  All of which is easy enough to do.

Hint on separating eggs, use your hands, whites drip between slightly separated fingers , leaving the yolks whole.

Hint on stiff peaks egg whites, USE A STAND MIXER (kitchenaid) or an electric mixer with beaters.  Sure, you can (and I have) whisked them by hand but really... Electric for this one.  Start out on low speed for the first 2 minutes until the eggs just start to foam around the edge, then increase the speed bit by bit until you are an high for the last 5 minutes.

And finally a hint on crushing the nuts.  This time, do them by hand.  Or actually, with the side of a chef's knife.  Carefully position one or two nuts at a time under the side of the knife, whack it with the back of your hand and you have the nuts in pieces, easy now to chop.  Repeat until you are finished.  Once you get the hang of it, you can finish off 1 cup in only a couple of minutes.

Oh, and as good as this was with fruit as a dessert (Dolce), the next morning I grabbed a slice and had it with my coffee... Dare I suggest even better?  No need for the simple syrup drizzle, the almost shortbread texture was perfect to dunk in the coffee.


 OK... Here's what I did...


Hazelnut Cake 
(Torta di Nocciole)


Ingredients
  • 1 Stick plus 2 TBS Butter, melted
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 3 Large Eggs, separated
  • 1 Cup Sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1 Cup Toasted and finely chopped Hazelnuts
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Use cooking spray to coat the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan, dust with flour
  3. In my Kitchenaid mixer, I started to whisk the egg whites, on low speed for 2 minutes. Then I upped the speed two notches and slowly added 1/2 Cup of sugar to the whisking whites as the machine ran. After the entire 1/2 cup is added, I again sped the machine up another notch and let it run for 8 minutes more, until the whites make very stiff peaks..
  4. While the machine is running, Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl.
  5. Now, add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and whisk until well combined
  6. Add the baking powder and salt and whisk again
  7. Add the melted butter and hazelnuts and mix.
  8. OK, now add the egg whites, folding into the dough 1/3rd at a time. First third, beat in until you see no white. The second third, fold in until you see a bit of whites speckled into the dough and the final third, plop the stiff egg whites into the center of the dough. Using a spatula, gently fold from the edges into the center 5 times and that's all. Larger inch wide ribbons should be visible.
  9. Transfer the dough into the prepared baking dish, smoothing out the top with a spatula.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a knife can be inserted and comes out clean.
  11. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then remove from the pan and allow to cool to room temperature (about 2 hours) prior to cutting.
  12. SERVE and ENJOY!!!


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This simple recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Cakes and Pies at Home"!

These are the desserts you make for your family.  No fancy amazing wedding cakes, just the rustic beauty of the classics.  From pumpkin pie to cheesecakes to layer cakes, these are what your family craves for dessert.  You may even see a few unusual crusts and frosting ideas to try.

You get the idea. These recipes are simple, delicious and will have your family wanting dessert first...
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And of course, I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

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