Recipe for Passover walnut torte with mocha cream – The Boston Globe

Serves 12

A two-layer cake made with ground walnuts and covered with whipped cream flavored with coffee and chocolate, this torte has no leavening agent, which makes it ideal for the Passover table. Beating air into the yolks and whites is the key to this confection. The somewhat unusual technique of folding three layers together — the yolks, the whites, and a ground walnut-orange mixture — with the lightest (the whites) on top, is a way of retaining as much air as possible. It is worth the extra touch of coating walnuts with chocolate for the garnish. It turns an ordinary cake into a festive dessert. To pipe whipped cream rosettes, you need a pastry bag and star tip.

TORTE

Butter (for the pans)
cups walnuts
6 tablespoons potato starch
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Grated rind of 1 large orange
5 eggs, separated, plus 1 extra white
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar

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1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven; set the temperature at 375 degrees. Butter two 9-by-1½-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit them and butter the paper.

2. In a food processor, combine the walnuts, potato starch, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and orange rind. Pulse the mixture until the walnuts are coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl large enough to hold all the batter.

3. In an electric mixer, beat the whites until foamy. Add the salt and gradually add ¼ cup of the sugar. Beat at medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the whites hold soft peaks. With a rubber spatula, scrape them into another bowl.

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4. In the mixer bowl, beat the yolks and remaining ½ cup sugar at medium high speed for 4 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and light in color. Place it on the walnut mixture. Place the whites on top and gently fold the three layers together.

5. Divide the batter between the pans, smoothing the top. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched with a fingertip and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pans.

6. Set the pans on wire racks to cool for 20 minutes. Turn them out and set them right side up on the racks to cool completely.

CREAM

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee

1. In a saucepan, bring ½ cup of the heavy cream and the sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

2. Add the chocolate and coffee; use a whisk to stir thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cool.

3. In an electric mixer, beat the cool chocolate mixture with the remaining 1½ cups cream until it holds stiff peaks.

4. In a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, put 1 cup of the mocha cream; refrigerate.

5. Remove the parchment paper from the cake rounds. Place 1 round right side up on a serving platter. Spread mocha cream evenly over the top. Place the other layer upside down on the cream and press down lightly. Cover the top and the sides of the cake with the remaining cream. Dip a metal spatula into very hot water. Wipe it dry and very quickly smooth the top and sides of the cake.

6. Use the cream in the pastry bag to pipe 12 evenly spaced rosettes along the top edge. Refrigerate the torte for 2 hours.

GARNISH

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
12 walnut halves

1. In a small bowl over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water, melt the chocolate. Dip the ends of the walnuts into the chocolate so they are coated ¾ of the way. Place them on parchment paper and refrigerate to set the chocolate.

2. Before serving, place a walnut half on each
rosette. Ingrid Lysgaard

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