Monday, November 7, 2011

Amaretti Torte

I've been making lists and checking them twice.  There's a pile of November and December magazines alongside a stack of cookbooks by my leather "relaxing" chair.  A pad and pen are at the ready.  The question is should we stay with the tried, true and traditional Thanksgiving dinner or try something new?  One dish?  Two?  My mother and grandmother never surprised us.  It was always the same menu on that late November Thursday.  I think we would have been very disappointed to find rutabaga puree (I didn't just pull that one out of a hat--I clipped a recipe out of the paper last week) in place of the sweet potato casserole.  This, however, is a different century.  Hmm, I suddenly felt OLD!!  We'll see.  Note to any of our Thanksgiving dinner guests:  Don't start worrying yet!!

If I were preparing a dessert in place of pumpkin pie, it would be this torte.  There's a note on the recipe that says it was first made in 2001 and we all loved it.  It's from one of my favorite Italian cooks, Marcella Hazan.  I've never been disappointed in a recipe from her and this torte is no exception.

Chocolate Amaretti Cake slightly adapted from a recipe by Marcella Hazan

1/2 pound butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup flour
10 pairs of amaretti (the 4 ounce pairs wrapped in colorful papers--not the small unwrapped ones)  ground to powder form in a food processor
2 ounces of semisweet baking chocolate, finely grated
A 9" round springform pan

1.  Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2.  One at a time, separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the butter mixture.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and the ground amaretti.  Add to the butter mixture a little at a time beating until thoroughly mixed.
4.  Add the grated chocolate, mixing well.
5.  Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Gently stir in 4 Tbsp of the whites to the cake mixture.  This will loosen it somewhat.  Fold in the remaining egg whites.
6.  Butter and flour the baking pan, knocking out the excess flour.
7.  Pour the batter into the pan.
8.  Bake in the uppermost level of the oven for 1 hour.  Start testing for doneness at about 45 minutes.  It's done when a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.
9.  Loosen the side of the springform pan.  Let it sit to settle a little while.

We serve it with slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Note:  The amaretti come in a bright red box or a tin.  They are easy to find in most specialty markets and are available online.

If one smooths out the pretty tissue paper and holds it over a lit candle, it is said that if the burning paper floats up to the ceiling a wish will come true.  I think, more likely, it could set the ceiling on fire.  I don't recommend you try this!!



  1. I couldn't help but smile as I imagined your stack of cookbooks and a list.

    I actually cleaned out my cookbook cabinet last night. It was a mixture of joy (of decluttering) and a bit of sadness/nostalgia as I stacked my books into piles. Some will go to Half Price and some will go to my cousin who is single and lives in a BIG house...and loves to collect stuff.

    With each piece of decluttering I could hear my daughters saying, "Thank you, Mom!"

    I am finding I don't need a lot of cookbooks with friends like you to pass along wonderful recipes. : )

  2. yuuummm, this torte sounds wonderful, will have to try it :D....i say stick with the traditional menu! My favorite holiday is thanksgiving and we now have to go to inlaws to gather for the day and 'everyone' brings a is so potlucky.....and i sooooo miss the kids have not wanted to 'do' our own day so....i am left with just memories....keep them going as long as you can

  3. LOL! I love the line letting your guests knnow to not start worrying yet. LOL! Sounds like a similar refrain around here. However, I am a traditional turkey-day gal. It is the Christmas meal that can take all kinds of interesting directions. hee hee. Looking forward to seeing that final menu... blessings ~ Tanna

  4. the only decision we have to make is are we cooking a turkey or not? just the two of us, and last year we cooked one for TG but skipped it at Christmas. we have always had the same thing on the two holidays. mother made what she made and then 27 years ago bob and i started our same thing days. i say go for the change, the cake looks wonderful and i would be happy with it in place of pumpkin pie. we have sweet potato pie and not pumpkin. we both love it.

  5. me too I love our description of books and mags by a cozy chair:)

    Love amarettis and Marcella Hazan..Thank you for posting this..

  6. that torte looks exceptional. I can't remember the last time i did a torte but I can promise you I wish I had a piece of yours right now.

  7. I have looked everywhere for those amaretti cookies and have concluded there isn't a store in my state that carries them. I'm going to look in Chicago when I'm there for Thanksgiving. This looks like a wonderful change from our traditional pumpkin pie. I'll have to make both because I would be lynched if I didn't make pie.

  8. I say venture out from the traditional meal if you wish. I am not afraid to change things up a bit. I'm sure that you are such a good cook that no one will care if the dishes aren't traditional! Carla

  9. That picture of you sittng there with your cookbooks and magazines? sure reminded me of moi.

    Now that is a torte with lots of goodess; Amaretti cookies make everything taste good. Love the story about burning the paper.
    For sure this will be on my to do list when my kids come over the holidays. I love to have somethig up my sleeve to surprise.

  10. Thank you for stopping by my blog. Yes, you were very close to me while traveling on i-65. Hook up on north 75 and you are about 40 minutes from my home.

    I looking forward to you giving me tons of recipes.

    How do I follow you? I tried and it would make a connection.

  11. That torte looks divine, great twist to the regular pumpkin pie

  12. This one sounds like a winner and a new addition to the Thanksgiving table.

    If I changed things on the menu, I would be hog tied and you get the drift.... well...after all this is the south.

    Then only thing I am changing is the turkey, it will be fired this year and not baked. We are not doing the frying but a butcher shop is. The rest will be as usual.

  13. Hi Bonnie, I can just see you sitting there in your favorite chair looking at new recipes in the Fall magazines and cookbooks.

    Don't think I'd like the rutabaga puree ---but the Amaretti Torte sounds great....


  14. I, too, have stacks of magazines holding recipes for the holidays. I love planning multiple holiday meals. I do enjoy the traditions though. Alas, this year there will be only the two of us for Thanksgiving.

    The torte sounds ideal for my staff Christmas party. Yum! Bonnie

  15. That torte looks great and I do love rutabaga... I'm just sayin:@)

  16. The torte sounds fabulous and I think it would be a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving feast. Her recipes are - at least for me - unfailing and I pretty much love everything she does. Have a great evening, Bonnie. Blessings...Mary

  17. I'm all for experimenting with the traditional menu, Bonnie. If my dad was still with us or if the kids were still young, I'd never get away with it. But I can now!
    This dessert looks marvelous. I'm searching the magazines for recipes now too! Loads in my mailbox every day. I feel sorry for the mailmen.

  18. Well, it is always good to change things up and add to traditions, but your mom had the right idea. Thanksgiving is all about tradition, and smelling and tasting the wonderful things that make your mouth water each year. So I think it's cool to have the same thing each year, but maybe throw in a new dish and see if it will become part of the tradition.

  19. Personally, I think the torte is perfect for Thanksgiving. Memories count but holidays with switch are fun and interesting. A mix of old and new is the best.

  20. You always share such interesting recipes. I would enjoy being at your Thanksgiving table as I'm sure there will be something unusual there.

    Interesting the responses my Jane Eyre post stirred up. We all seem to love the book and most of us read it in highschool. I believe it was one of my favorite books but it's been so long since I've read it. I don't remember seeing so much quotable good stuff in it back when I was a teenager. We did watch the movie (believe it or not, it had fled the theatres and wasn't at redbox yet so we rented it online on you tube and had a week to watch it)...and it was unremarkable and I barely remember it. It just did not do justice to the book, though it was pretty to look at.

  21. I do always share such unique and thoughtful recipes. I don't find as much creativity and thoughtfulness anywhere else. This looks just lovely. Thank you for sharing another post with me. After a morning of baking, I smiled. Much love!

  22. Oh, Bonnie, this is a definite must-try. I have never heard of amaretti...I'm guessing it's amaretto flavored, right? I am going to World Market today, and this sounds like a product they would carry, so I am going to look for it.

    I have "pinned" this recipe to my Pinterest page.

    Wishing you a wonderful day.


  23. The crew -my kids- coming to my house would love this torte. (And so would I!) They've suddenly turned all "foodie" on me- go figure. :) We'll go to my mom's for a very traditional Thanksgiving, and then have one here that's maybe not so. Variety is the spice of life!


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