Torta di Mandorle (Silvia’s Almond Torte)
This recipe comes from the kitchen of Silvia de Vincenzo of the Azienda Agricola Mandranova, located on the southern coast of Sicily. This gorgeous estate is known for its exquisite monocultivar olive oils, and the cooking classes that Silvia conducts are always a part of The Farmhouse Table’s food and wine trips. To blanch the almonds, let them soak in very hot water for a few minutes and the brown skins will slip off easily. Servings: 6-8
3 cups (300 g) blanched almonds
1 ½ cups (300 g) white sugar
Zest of 1 lemon or orange
Pinch of salt
Small handful of golden raisins (optional)
7 egg whites at room temperature, whisked until stiff
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend almonds and sugar together until very fine. Transfer to a large bowl and add citrus zest, salt, and raisins. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (180 C.)
Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into almond-sugar mixture. Turn into a large, shallow cake or spring form pan that has been lined with parchment paper and bake until lightly brown on top, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan. Once torte is cool, remove from pan. Place on servings platter, slice, and serve with fresh berries.
The first time we made this Sicilian-style cake, Silvia used almonds that were grown on their farm. But then, on another occasion, we made it with a mix of pistachios, pine nuts, and almonds, which turned out to be my favorite version. Sometimes she uses golden raisins as well if she happens to have them on hand, but you can leave them out if you prefer.