You know, I haven't been posting anything new and exciting here, even though some cool things are happening, because I just didn't know what to say. I am recovering from yet another neck injury, this one lead to X-rays, which has lead to doctors, therapy, painful revaluation of priorities...blah blah. In short, when I think about what I want to share with you, all of I think of is more pain, blah again, so I kept mum. But....I don't want to stop posting, so I figure now you know, and you know why my house project stopped dead in their tracks...
But, as I get better, I get more ideas! Today though, in Atlanta, it is rainy, big freaking surprise, and I just want to cook, and bake. In honour of my favorite magazine on earth (right next to Domino, who I know is watching over me, and cried a tear of joy when she saw me buy a giant horn mounted in brass today...I love you too Domino...) ahem, ok, my favorite magazine, Gourmet, which as we all know, is being killed by the evil devil Conde Nasty-face.
I made this last year, and it was to die for. I am dreaming about it again, maybe with figs? or cranberries? Ohhhhh... So let me be southern for a second: I swear togod, if I caint cook like I wanna, cuz of my neck thangy, well, that just caint happen!
- 2 cups whole almonds with skins (10 oz), toasted (see Tips) and cooled completely
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 8 oz dried Pacific apricots
- Confectioners sugar for dusting
Equipment:a 10-inch springform pan
- Pulse toasted almonds and sugar in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into a bowl, then add to ground nuts in processor and pulse to combine.
- Lightly beat yolks, extracts, and zest in a small bowl with a fork. Add to food processor along with butter, then pulse until dough forms a ball. Form one third of dough into a disk, then roll out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a 10-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Roll out remaining dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round, then transfer to another baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes.
- Simmer water, sugar, brandy, and apricots in a small saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until apricots are tender and liquid is syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer mixture to cleaned food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Spread mixture onto a plate and chill 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
- Remove bottom of springform pan and invert, then lock on side. Remove larger dough round from refrigerator and peel off top layer of plastic wrap, then invert round into pan (pastry will break in spots). Press dough evenly onto bottom, then discard plastic. Fold in edge of dough and press 1/2 inch up side of pan (side will be thicker than bottom). Press gently to close any cracks.
- Bake pastry until lightly browned, about 20 minutes, then cool completely on a rack, about 30 minutes. (Dough will puff up as it bakes but will settle as it cools.)
- Spread filling into crust with an offset spatula or back of a spoon.
- Peel top layer of plastic wrap from smaller dough round, then cut round into 1/2-inch-wide strips. (Chill strips again if necessary.) Arrange half of strips over filling about 1 inch apart, pressing ends onto edge of torte. Arrange remaining strips across first strips to form a simple lattice. Press edges together with your fingertips.
- Bake until top is browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
- Before serving, remove side of pan and dust edge of torte with confectioners sugar.
Cooks’ note: Torte (without confectioners sugar) can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.