Like Limoncello, this torta reigns from southern Italy. It is simple and satisfying as a dessert served with a dollop of lemon curd on the side or afternoon treat served with a spot of iced or hot tea.
Almond & Lemon Curd Torta
For the lemon curd:
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
3 large organic eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large lemons, juiced (a little less than 1/2 cup)
Zest from 2 lemons (1 heaping tablespoon)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together sugar, eggs, egg yolk, lemon juice and zest over low to medium heat. Keep whisking while the mixture heats for about 3-5 minutes until it begins to thicken. Turn off heat and add cold butter in by the tablespoon while continuing to whisk until all of the butter is incorporated.
Place the curd into a glass bowl or container and cover.* Chill for least 4 hours or overnight.
* Do not cover with plastic wrap allowing wrap to touch the curd. While this practice recommended in many recipes, it contaminates the curd with chemicals from the wrap. Simply cover the container with lid, parchment, or foil and allow the curd to form a “skin” as it cools and then remove the thin top layer before using.
To make the Torta:
1 1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 cup blanched almonds, lightly toasted
2 cup organic all-purpose flour ( I like King Arthur Organic Unbleached Flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks of organic unsalted butter, room temperature (16 tablespoons)
2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
6 large organic eggs, room temperature
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan and line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment and butter the paper. Sprinkle and gently press half the sliced almonds against the bottom and sides of the pan. Put the pan in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In the food processor combine the blanched toasted almonds, flour, baking powder and salt. Process for 15-20 seconds, until finely chopped.
In a medium bowl beat the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract for about 2-3 minutes, until creamy and light colored.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs with the mixer for 5 minutes until thick and frothy.
With a fork mix the almond and flour mixture into the butter mixture until blended. Add beaten eggs and stir until just smooth.
Transfer into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Spoon 1/2 of the lemon curd on top of the batter to about 1/2-inch from the side of the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining sliced almonds over the top of the batter.
Bake for 50-55 minutes until the cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool in the pan until warm to the touch. Before removing from pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides. Peel off the parchment paper from the bottom and dust the torta with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Serve with the remaining lemon curd.