Chocolate, Orange and Almond Torte: the heart-warming feeling of sharing with friends.





I will make you a confession, you might not believe it but I am not the greatest “sweet” person. I always try to be as kind and nice as possible (!) but when it comes to food, although my sweet tooth has grown with the age, I would almost always choose savoury over sweet. I cannot deny that the eating part has its role, but cooking and baking, the work behind the preparation of a sweet, is by far more enjoyable. However, the thing that makes me happier about making sweets over all the others is sharing them with other people and see them enjoying something that I devised, created and made.

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That’s why I am always very pleased when I get friends or family making requests for my sweets. Especially when we are invited at friends’ place and to our question “what should we bring?” the answer is “I would normally say nothing, but if you don’t mind bring dessert…”. It is really heart warming, plus we don’t have to worry about choosing a bottle of wine without having a clue of what we are doing 😉 . This is exactly what happened this weekend: we had a great evening, shared delicious food and I am very happy that some of it came out of my kitchen too.
Have a nice Sunday!

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Questa volta devo fare una cofessione, molti non ci crederanno ma non sono una persona “da dolce”. Cerco sempre di essere il più possibile gentile ed educata (!) ma quando si parla di cibo raramente, dovendo scegliere, preferisco il dolce al salato, anche se effettivamente  la mia debolezza per i dolci è cresciuta con l’etá. Certo, poter gustare quello che si prepara è sicuramente un lato molto positivo di questo hobby ma cucinare, tutto il lavoro dietro alla preparazione di un dolce, è di gran lunga migliore. Ma la cosa che, sopra ogni altra, mi rende più felice nel fare dolci è quando poterli condividere e vedere come altre persone apprezzino quello che ho ideato, creato e preparato.
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Ecco perchè mi fa sempre enorme piacere quando amici o famigliari mi chiedono di preparare loro qualcosa. In particolar modo, quando siamo invitati a casa di amici e alla nostra domanda “cosa volete che portiamo?” come risposta riceviamo “Oh, normalmente direi niente, ma se volesste portare il dolce…”. É un bella sensazione, davvero, in più non dobbiamo scervellarci a scegliere una bottglia di vino di cui non sappiamo davvero nulla 😉 . Ecco, esattamente ció che è successo questo fine settimana: abbiamo passato una bellissima serata e condiviso un pasto eccellente; ed è bello che una piccola parte sia venuta dalla mia cucina.
Buona domenica a tutti!

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For the Base:
3 medium egg whites
75g caster sugar
150g almond flour
150g icing sugar sifted

For the Mousse and decoration:
300g 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate
3 medium eggs
400ml whipping cream
100g caster sugar
100ml water
finely grated zest of 2 big oranges
finely peeled skin of 2 big oranges
chopped almonds
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Start from the base. Preheat the oven to 150C and line a loose-bottom cake tin with baking paper. Using a food processor with blades, mix together the icing sugar and the almond flour.
With an electric whisk, whiz the egg whites and the caster sugar until very pale thick and doubled in volume. Sieve and fold the ground almonds and icing sugar into the egg mixture half at a time. Spread this over the base of the tin and bake for 20 minutes or until firm and lightly coloured. Leave to cool.
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Then prepare the orange peel. Cut it into thin strips, as narrow as you can, in a non stick saucepan combine the water and the sugar bring to boil and add the peel. Simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until the peel will be completely soft and the syrup has started as reached a very thick sticky consistency. Drain the peel on a sheet of baking paper trying to remove as much syrup as possible; keep the syrup in the pan, set aside but keep warm so that it would not solidify. Leave the candied peel to dry overnight.
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For the mousse the chocolate into pieces and gently melt at bain marie or in the microwave. Allow to cool to room temperature. Using an electric whisk, whiz the eggs and the syrup from the orange peel with the orange zest until pale foamy and doubled in volume. In another medium bowl, using clean beaters, whisk the cream until it forms soft, fluffy peaks. Fold the egg and sugar mixture into the chocolate, followed by the cream in two goes.
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Smooth the mixture over the base. Decorate Cover and chill for half a day or overnight until set. Run the warm blade of a knife around the collar of the cake tin to remove decorate with the candied peel and the chopped almonds.
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