Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious
By Julie Rothman
TORTA DEL RE (ITALIAN KING'S CAKE)
Makes 12 servings
Makes 12 servings
• 2 tablespoons sweet butter or margarine for greasing the pan
• 5 large eggs, separated
• Small pinch of salt
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 2 1/2 cups blanched almonds, very finely chopped (if you use a blender or food processor, add a tablespoon of sugar from the 1 1/4 cups so nuts don't clump together)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• Grated zest of a lemon
• Confectioner's sugar for garnish
• 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Line bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter or margarine.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Beat the egg whites with salt until stiff and dry.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until foamy, then gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is lemon-colored. Gradually add the chopped almonds, then the two extracts and the lemon zest. You should have a very hard paste. Mix a third of the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture to make it softer. Delicately fold in the remaining egg whites and pour into the prepared pan.
Place in the center of the middle rack in the preheated oven and bake for one hour. After the hour is over, leave the oven door ajar for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and place it upside down on a cooling rack. When the cake is cool, remove it from the pan and place it upside down over a cake dish. Top with confectioner's sugar using a sifter and sprinkle with the toasted sliced almonds.
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