Monday, September 17, 2012

Fit for a Queen: Orange Almond Torte

I had to come up with a special cake for my friend's Jubilee Birthday and it had to be gluten free.  It was no problem as this orange almond torte popped right into my head!  We've made it so often that the book falls right open to the page.

Some friends, who know their way deliciously around the kitchen, gave us The California Heritage Cookbook in 1982 and it has been in constant use ever since.   I don't think I've ever had a failure or disappointment with any of the recipes.  A tip of the hat to the Junior League of Pasadena for a job well done!!

The torte uses the entire orange--peel and pith included--except for the navel and any seeds.  I've never found a seed in a navel orange!  It is a very moist and medium-crumbed cake.  And, best of all, it's very easy to put together and will bring kudos from all at the table.  I hope you'll give it a try.

Orange Almond Torte from the California Heritage Cookbook

2 large navel oranges
8 ounces blanched almonds or 1 1/2 cups ground almonds
6 eggs
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar

1.  Wash the oranges and place them, whole and unpeeled, into a saucepan with water barely to cover.  Simmer over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until they are very soft.  Cut in half and remove the navel and any seeds.  Place the oranges, including the peel, in the bowl of a food processor and puree.

2.  Butter and flour a 9 or 10 inch springform pan.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3.  If you are using the whole almonds, grind them in the food processor with the steel blade to a fairly fine powder (you don't want to end up with almond butter!).  In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light in color.  Stir in the salt, baking powder, sugar, pureed oranges and ground almonds and mix well.  If the orange skins were very thick, you may wish to add a few more tablespoons of sugar.  I've never had to do this.  A distinctive bittersweet taste is desirable.  The batter will be rather liquid.

4.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan and unmold onto a platter.

5.  Delicious topped with whipped cream that is slightly sweetened with confectioner's sugar and a tablespoon (or two) of Grand Marnier.