Wednesday, October 23, 2013

100th Recipe! Hazelnut Torte

Today marks 100 recipes at The Old Country Blog!

I am proud of this little milestone and chose to bake a hazelnut torte for the occasion because ... 

As many of you know, I started this blog as a way to learn my family's German, Louisiana and Lebanese recipes. My Oma was a master of all three and her lessons translated into this blog.  After she passed away in January, the blog took on a new role that I hadn't planned. When we planned her services, the stories on the blog served as a point of reference. The Old Country Blog became a place for my family to remember Oma — her stories and her recipes.  And a little weekly reminder of her life and what she has passed on to us.  

I wanted to honor her today with a German torte in her favorite flavor, hazelnut.  Oma was crazy about hazelnuts — in fact hazelnut cookies were the last thing she taught me to make.  So, for the occasion, I used one of Oma's German cookbooks, The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton — it's English language. I made Sheraton's Nusstorte or Nut (Hazelnut) Torte. 

Without further ado, here's to Oma and 100 recipes! 

Nusstorte - from Mimi Sheraton
the one hundredth recipe

8 eggs separated
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (or rum)
1 teaspoon arak (the recipe didn't originally call for it, but it was Oma's favorite. She snuck it in everything)
1 1/2 cups shelled hazelnuts
1 tbs sugar
whipped cream, rum flavored*

Cream yolks with sugar and extracts. Sheraton says mixture should be a pale yellow and thick enough to ribbon.
Crush the hazelnuts but do not grate nuts too finely. Sheraton suggests using a bag and a rolling pin, I used a bag and a hammer.
Beat egg whites and as they thicken add a tbs of sugar. Stir 2 or 3 egg whites into the yolk mixture. Then pour yolk mixture over egg whites. Sprinkle in grated nuts.
Fold mixture with rubber spatula until no traces of whites showing.
Butter and flour two 9 inch layer cake pans — you can also use a spring form pan and later cut cake into layers.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Cool cake until sides shrink in and then invert on rack.

Now make whipped cream to go between the layers, I used Ina Garten's rum whipped cream recipe. Just heavy cream, dark rum, sugar and vanilla! And maybe a dash of arak ...

I topped the cake with another German classic, marzipan. Most grocery stores sell tubes of this almond paste now.  I bought a tube at my local grocery store and rolled it out over a waxed papered cutting board with a rolling pin.  I then used fall cookie cutters to cut out shapes — aren't cookie cutters the best?  I topped the cake with my pretty fall patterns, a small layer of whipped cream and crushed hazelnuts. A sprinkle of cocoa powder also gives the cake a nice kick.

Serve the cake cold, I allowed mine to chill overnight, but 30 minutes will do.


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