so the cake
a torta di noci
old, bitter and deep
that we have been making forever
but only now with our own walnuts
is a flourless triumph - try it
even with other people's walnuts.
from giuliano bugialli's 'classic techniques of italian cooking'
6 ounces unsalted butter
6 ounces shelled walnuts
6 ounces sugar
4 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder
2 or 3 drops vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2 ounces glaceed citron, cut into small pieces (bergamot preserved sweet/ γλυκό is a perfect local alternative)
3 tablespoons unseasoned breadcrumbs, preferably homemade
> melt butter in a small metal bowl improvising a double boiler. Remove form heat and let stand until needed.
> chop shelled walnuts and sugar very finely on a board using a mezzaluna, transfer to a large bowl, add cocoa powder and vanilla and mix well with a wooden spoon.
> separate the yolks from the egg whites and add the yolks to the bowl. keep the whites in a crockery or glass bowl for later.
> add citron and pour over the melted and cooled butter. mix thoroughly until the mixture has a thick but smooth texture. beat the egg whites until stiff. (to remove the egg whites left on the whisk do not bang it against the bowl but gently tap the whisk above the bowl with your hand).
> scrape all the egg whites with a spatula into the bowl with the nuts. with a wooden spoon, fold the egg whites into the nut mixture until homogeneous.
> preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius. butter a 10-inch ring mold well and line it with breadcrumbs. shake out any excess and reserve them. gently spoon the mixture into the prepared mold and sprinkle on remaining breadcrumbs.
>bake for about 40 minutes, then unmold and leave to cool on a rack.