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.
My dearest Matiroulis!
First of all, I apologize for the delay on this post. The weather here is also finally getting nice. And yes, I know that you folks that live in real winter will tell me that I am a weenie but locals have told us that this winter was a lot harsher than it has in the past. The cold fronts lasted much longer and the people that work on the beach have suffered a lot. Winter is high season in Miami and people count on this time of year to make a living and the people that give you towels and beach chairs at my grandparents place have told us how much they lost this past winter. So, I think that I am entitled to complain. But, the weather is getting nicer and the flowers are starting to bloom. I do not only see them but I feel the bloom with allergy season beginning. A few weekends ago we went camping with some friends in the Everglades and we went canoeing through the mangroves. Here is a shot from our canoe.
Back to food, I think that either I am slightly more obsessed with chocolate than you or I just have not expanded my horizons as much as you have with our blogging adventure. My new goal is to start cooking different dishes, and even more different desserts that are not only chocolate, even though I believe that chocolate is the best dessert ingredient whatsoever! I bought a new cookbook called Appetizers Finger Food Buffets and Parties and I also have like 5 new Food & Wine magazines to start cutting from. I am on a mission to buy some folders as well as those transparent slips to start getting organized. I am very excited about my new book as it has very easy recipes as well as deliciously looking ones.
So Passover is here, it has been here for about 3 days now and I do have to say that I am tired of eating Matzah, but i do like the discipline of having to think what I can and can’t eat. Very similar to lent you know? You have to think when you go out what you can and cannot eat. It really makes you think about what you are putting into your body. Not that the things we choose not to eat during lent or those that we can’t eat during Passover are bad for you, but overall, I like being conscious about what I eat. I am not sure I told you, but I have started reading this really awesome book that has rules for what to eat, how to eat it, and how much to eat. I will leave it at that for now because I have not read much from the book, since I have 4 others on my night table, and I will tell you about it another day.
Back to Passover. Passover is a very difficult holiday for desserts because you substitute flour for matzah meal and the desserts never come out as good. So my mom and I always make Chocolate Flourless cake which is delicious. This year I was in charge of one of the desserts and we made Chocolate Flourless Cake. The day of the first seder, I was also trying to make a dessert from the box for Nona and it came out gross, the only thing I make from a box is Duncan Hines Brownies. So I was making a sponge cake for my grandma and she wanted to frost it with meringue. The dessert was so bad we decided to chuck it but I had already made the meringue topping so I decided to use it for my chocolate cake. YUM YUM YUM!
There are three steps to this newly invented dessert by me. First you make the Flourless Chocolate Cake. While that is baking, you make the meringue and chocolate mouse. For the chocolate mousse, I followed a recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s Double Chocolate Torte which I had made a few weeks ago: Chocolate- Chocolate Delight.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- 6 Tbls of unsalted butter or vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips (10 oz. of chopped chocolate)
- 6 large egg yolks
- 6 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated ugar
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 275°F, with rack in the center. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan. Place butter and chocolate in a large glass bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted: cool slightly. Whisk in yolks.
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar: beat until stiff and glossy. Whisk 1/4 of the whites in to the chocolate mixture; gently fold mixture into remaining whites.
- Pour into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until cakes pulls away from sides of pan and is just set in the center, 40-50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
I did twice the amount of mousse because I put mousse on top of the cake, the placed the meringue and then put some more mouse on top.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 8 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 16 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup plus
Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/2 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside.
Beat egg whites and 1 cup sugar in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Chill until mousse has hardened a little, but it is still liquid enough to be able to place on top of the cake. I put mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes before I put it on the cake.
- 3 Egg whites
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp of white vinegar
- Preheat the oven to about 200 °F
- At high speed, mix the egg whites until they form peaks, for about 8-9 minutes.
- Once the whites form peaks, slowly add the sugar, gradually, beating until it is stiff and mix for about 8 minutes.
- Add 1 tsp of vinegar and continue to mix.
- Take a round pan, about the size of the pan where you are making the cake and cut parchment or wax paper to place on top.
- Spread the meringue on top of the pan to form a circle about 1″ high.
- Place in the oven and cook for about 20-30. Touch the meringue with your finger and if the meringue has harden, turn the oven on and leave inside for about 20 more minutes.
- Remove and cool.
Once the three parts are done, while the cake is still in the spring pan, pour half of the semi-hardened mousse on top of the cake, then put the meringue on top of the mousse and add the remaining mousse on top of the meringue. Chill for about 2-3 hours or until the mousse has set.
The tricky part is to take the divine creation out of the spring pan and onto a plate for serving. Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Once you are ready to serve, garnish with grated chocolate or powdered sugar, if desired.
Here are a few shots so that your mouth can water….
I hope you had a wonderful Easter and weekend with extra days off from work!