Queen of sheba

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
6 ounces Bittersweet or semi-sweet
\N \N Chocolate, cut into bits
6 ounces Sweet butter, cut into
\N \N Pieces
3 tablespoons Brandy
⅛ teaspoon Almond extract
4 larges Eggs, separated
¾ cup Sugar
½ cup (2 ounces) ground blanched
\N \N Almonds
¼ cup (1-ounce) flour
⅛ teaspoon Cream of tartar
\N \N Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze,
\N \N Recipe follows
1 ounce White and/or milk chocolate
\N \N (optional) for marbling the
\N \N Glaze
½ cup Sliced toasted almonds
\N \N Special Equipment:
8 \N Inch corregated cake circle

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of 8x3-inch springform pan with waxed or parchment paper. Melt chocolate and butter in a small bowl placed in a barely simmering waterbath, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Or microwave on medium (50 percent) power for about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and completely melted. Stir in brandy and almond extract. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with ½ cup of sugar until pale and thick. Stir in chocolate mixture. Set aside.

In a clean, dry mixer bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks are formed. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup sugar, beating at high speed until stiff but not dry. Set aside just long enough to stir the warm chocolate mixture, nuts and flour, into the reserved egg yolk mixture. Finally, fold about one-fourth of whites into the batter to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or wooden skewer plunged into the center of the torte shows moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Torte will rise like a souffle during baking, then fall in the center as it cools, leaving a faintly crusty higher rim around the edges.

Level the torte before removing it from the pan, as follows: Run a small metal spatula or knife between the edges of the torte and the sides of the pan to release it. Press the raised edges of the torte down with your fingers until it is level with the center. Place cardboard cake circle on the torte. Release the sides of the pan and invert the torte so that the bottom becomes the top, then remove the pan bottom and paper liner. If the torte is still uneven or appears slightly sunken in the center, level it again by pressing the top firmly with the bottom of the empty cake pan. Wrap well and store at room temperature up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature before serving, glazing, or decorating.

Glaze with Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze, plain or marbled and sliced toasted almonds. Store and serve at room temperature.

Yield: 10-12 servings


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