I think that there is some sort of myth about cooking for Passover and making good desserts on Passover. I think people complicate themselves more by just thinking about what they can’t eat instead of just focusing on what we are able to eat and to reflect on the freedom of choice we have every day. Looking around for some recipes for a Passover dessert that I had committed myself to make for my aunt’s dinner this past Friday, I came across an Almond Macaroon Torte with Chocolate Frosting on Smitten Kitchen. This is one of those desserts that has let me continue my path to creating beautifully looking and deliciously tasting desserts. Like my grandma said “I only make things that look pretty,” so I add “pretty and taste amazing!”
I have gone back to this recipe a few times to look at the comments left for it because mine came out good but it was not as amazing as other people have commented on her website. So I have gone back to check on what have been the suggestions, worthwhile reading a few but after a while there are so many that you just get overwhelmed.
I would follow Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and suggestions as well as just follow your own gut and I am sure you will get it. I might try this one again with a few changes. The chocolate was too bitter and Almond Macaroons were not as chewy as I wanted them to be. Maybe I would make them a little bit thicker. I am posting a few pictures here to illustrate the steps.
Almond Macaroon Torte with Chocolate Frosting
Adapted heavily from Bon Appetit
Smitten Kitchen made a tremendous amount of changes to this recipe — adjusted cooking times, added weights, added dozens of tips, rewrote just about everything, etc. — And that’s putting it mildly. But the core of the recipe — what she ended up with after a lot of tweaks and what she believes it is meant to be — is delightful, both an elegant, showy torte and a candy bar that “I cannot wait to get a taste of in T-minus 7… 6… 5 hours… Not that I’m tapping my feet or anything.”
Update: We loved it. It was a huge, huge hit, although not precisely Kit-Kat-ish. The layers (as the ingredient list gave away to some commentators) are almost exactly like those trendy macaroon, which is to say crisp but soft and slightly chewy. The chocolate remained firm. It was easy to slice cleanly with an unfancy knife and I’ll definitely be making this again.
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces or 300 grams) slivered almonds (or an equivalent weight of blanched, sliced or already ground almonds)
1 cup (196 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (37 grams) sugar
2 large pinches kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg whites
Frosting and assembly
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Flavoring of your choice, such as 1/2 teaspoon orange oil or extract, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, almond or other extract
20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (61% or less is recommended, I think it would also be great with 72%, a nice bitter contrast to the sweet macaroons), chopped or chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted (at 350 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes on a tray, stirring once or twice)
Make macaroons: Position an oven rack in the top and lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Draw two 12 x 4-inch rectangles, spacing 2 inches apart [see Note below for my tiny kitchen adjustments] on a piece of parchment paper, then two more of the same size on a second sheet. In total, you’ll use 2 sheets of parchment paper and draw 4 rectangles. Turn each sheet of parchment over (so your ink or pencil lines don’t seep into the macaroon). You do not need to spray oil on the parchment paper.
The dessert keeps fresh covered for a few days after serving. I have been thinking of what it would taste like with vanilla ice cream as mine came out a little dry, I think the ice cream would add some moisture to it. Maybe I will try today. In the meantime, enjoy and I will be back with some new posts on what I have been cooking.
Place almonds, 1 cup sugar and coarse salt in a food processor (you can skip the food processor, however, if you use an equivalent weight of almond meal or ground almonds, just mixing the ingredients in a bowl) with vanilla bean seeds, if using (you’ll add liquid extract in a bit) and blend until finely ground.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large, dry bowl with clean beaters (or a whisk attachment) until soft peaks form. Drizzle in vanilla extract (if using), then slowly add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Beat until stiff but not dry. Fold nut mixture into egg whites. Spread 1/4 of macaroon batter evenly within each rectangle, filling completely.
Bake macaroon layers until golden and almost firm to the touch in the center, reversing sheets halfway through — this took a total of 23 measly minutes in my oven; the original recipe says it can take up to 40. I would check in on yours at 23 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter if they’re not done yet.
Cool macaroons on their sheets on a cooling rack.
Make frosting: Simmer 1/2 cup of water and sugar in a medium saucepan until sugar dissolves. Measure 10 tablespoons from this and either discard the rest of save it for another use. Put the 10 tablespoons syrup back in the saucepan and add flavoring of your choice. Bring the syrup back to a boil and add chocolate to the saucepan. Remove from heat and let sit for one minute, then stir the chocolate until smooth. This should yield a medium-thick frosting, good for spreading. If yours is on the thin side, you can let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes until it is a good spreading consistency.
Place one macaroon layer on a long platter. (If you’re a follower of my layer cake tips, you’ll already know that slipping little pieces of parchment or waxed paper under the edges will help keep your platter clean; you pull them out when you’re done frosting the torte. I highly recommend following her directions or other frosting tips in order to keep your serving platter clean. As you can see, I placed my torte on top of four long pieces of foil that I removed once I was done frosting.) Spread 1/2 cup frosting evenly over. Top with another macaroon layer. Spread 1/2 cup frosting evenly over. Repeat 1 more time then top with last macaroon layer, flat side up. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of torte. Press sliced almonds onto sides of torte.
You can do it ahead, about one to two days ahead. Cover with foil tent. Store at room temperature.
The dessert keeps fresh covered for a few days after serving. I have been thinking of what it would taste like with vanilla ice cream as mine came out a little dry, I think the ice cream would add some moisture to it. Maybe I will try today. In the meantime, enjoy and I will be back with some new posts on what I have been cooking…