Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Amaretti Torte

Today on Wild Culinary Kingdom, we study the elusive Amaretti cookie. Amaretti cookies, being naturally shy, are difficult to spot in the wild. Their endangered status makes them a rare sighting indeed, especially in the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles. If you are lucky enough to find one, approach it with caution, and do not make any sudden moves or loud noises. Once you are within touching distance, quickly reach out and grab the cookie package, and purchase it immediately. You will find that these rare Italian cookies make a truly wonderful chocolate torte.
Yes, this week's recipe was my first introduction to amaretti cookies. I traveled many a frustrating mile looking for a store that sells them, finally ending up at a random Italian deli in Burbank that carried not one, not two, but a half-dozen different brands. I decided to shell out the big bucks for the pricier, but recommended, Lazzaroni brand. I can't say how they compare to other amaretti, but I will say that they have a really strong almond flavor and a great crunchy texture. I didn't particularly like them on their own, but I certainly liked what they added to the cake!

This cake was, as promised, very fast to prepare. Just a few minutes in the food processor was all it took to bring the batter together. Because it was so slim, the baking time was fast, and even the process of glazing and decorating only took a few minutes.
It doesn't have the showiness of a towering layer cake, but I think this thin, sleek cake has a certain sophistication of its own. I especially loved how shiny the glaze was, giving the top a mirror finish that really enhanced the photos. This cake is still in the running towards becoming America's. Next. Top. Dessert.

I finished the top with a sprinkling of gold luster dust. I've been dying to get some gold leaf to decorate my chocolate cakes with (love that effect) but I can never bring myself to pay for it. Newsflash: gold leaf is seriously expensive! Go figure.
And the taste! I was afraid it would be way too almondy, as the cookies had almost an overpowering almond (or almond extract) taste. But I thought the balance between chocolate and almond was actually quite nice. The texture was dense and silky smooth, not too fudgy or sticky, just like a good flourless chocolate cake should be. Next time I might serve it with more whipped cream on the side, to lighten it a bit, but overall it was just about perfect.

31 comments:

  1. You never cease to amaze me. Everything you make, you make fancy!

    This is very, very pretty, Liz!

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  2. WOW!!!! That is TOTALLY Americas Next Top Dessert! That is STUNNING!

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  3. Absolutely stunning cake!

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  4. Shall we tune in next week for "mating habits of the amaretto cookie?" You are so right - finding these required an actual cookie safari. Sounds like you hit upon the amaretti mecca, though. Your torte looks gorgeous - I am loving that gold leaf!

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  5. Beautiful presentation!

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  6. Hahaha, I love your post!! Your cake looks good too!

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  7. Oh so pretty ... I love the piped cream and almond slivers!

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  8. Gorgeous Liz! I can't find those cookies down here in OC. I still really want to make this though...

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  9. Wow. Yours looks amazing. I loved the Wild Kingdom intro. I half expected to see Marlon Perkins enjoying a slice of the torte.

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  10. I love the gold dust. It's sparkley! :P
    Yes, the elusive amaretti. Now that I've made the cake, I'm finding them all over the place.

    Your cake looks wonderful.

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  11. your cake is so beautiful! I love the way you decorated it. Mine is so plain by comparison!!!

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  12. Beautiful torte! It is so finely formed.

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  13. Your cake looks wonderful- love the presentation!

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  14. Gorgeous presentation w. the gold dust Liz!

    Clearly this market in Burbank was hoarding LA's entire allotment of amaretti cookies. ;)

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  15. Gold leaf! Wow! You are amazing.

    I love your beginning...too funny! Great looking cake!

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  16. That is one gorgeous torte! Love the way you decorated it! Great job.

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  17. Wow, what a fantastic looking cake! Very elegant and looks like it belongs in a patisserie.

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  18. Liz, that is one seriously beautiful cake. WOW!!! I bow to your creation.

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  19. Mmmm...I remember this one...

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  20. That looks like a beautiful cake but I could eat the amaretti straight out of the box, just love the almond flavour. I do find it strange the way ingredients are not available in some places but plentiful in others. Here in England these cookies are very readily available but we cant even get a firm cream cheese!

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  21. Wow, looks awesome! I want to learn to pipe like that!

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  22. Wow, that is quite a gorgeous torte you have there, looks simply perfect and elegant.

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  23. Oh my gah, Liz. This looks incredible. So chic and sophisticated. A totally posh dessert. Not to mention it's totally, awesomely chocolatey. Delicious! And I love your gold flecks (despite their expensiveness).

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  24. Oh, Liz, how funny! Glad you grabbed the cookies before they could scurry away. Or would they fly? hmmm. I had access to a bunch of edible gold leaf a couple of years ago, before I had any idea what to do with it. Not that I still could do anything presentable, but I do have a hint of what others with talent like yours could do! Glad you found this cake to be perfect. Next time I'm going to use almond meal to get a smoother texture.
    Nancy

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  25. That certainly looks like a slice of heaven to me....I love amaretti cookies and surprisingly they are reasonably available in Maine...who knew? Thanks for the continuing sugary beauty, Patricia
    PS Are you going to try the Simnel Cake...it came out really light and moist for a fruit cake and how could it not be good with TWO layers of marzipan!

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  26. Now you've got me scared of cookies. But it might be worth the danger to get to that cake!

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  27. This is my kind of dessert. Looks good!

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  28. Glad you finally caught a few of these little buggers b/c your photographs are to die for. Just beautiful!

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  29. Great post, Liz! You nailed the decoration! I love how it looks. And I would be seriously glued to the TV each week for America's Next Top Dessert! I think you should sell the idea to FN or Bravo!

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  30. Your cake looks so lovely. Well done!

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  31. Your torte puts mine to shame! Gorgeous! You could totally charge for that cake.

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