This recipe from the recently published "The New York Times Passover Cookbook" (William Morrow & Co., $25) appeared on Wednesday, March 24, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News. Ruth Hungarian hazelnut torte with hazelnut icing ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For torte: Unsalted butter or pareve margarine for greasing pan 8 large eggs, separated 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup orange juice 4 heaping tablespoons matzo meal 4 heaping tablespoons ground hazelnuts For icing: 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup water 8 large egg yolks 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or pareve margarine, softened 1/2 cup ground toasted hazelnuts (see Note) 12 whole, shelled hazelnuts, for decoration Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch springform pan well. To make the torte, in a bowl, blend the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until they are creamy-yellow and smooth. Whisk in the orange juice, matzo meal and ground hazelnuts. Set aside. In another bowl, whip the egg whites until firm, then fold into the yolk mixture. Put the mixture in the pan. Bake for 35 minutes. While baking, make the icing. In a saucepan, boil the sugar in the water until dissolved. Continue boiling slowly over low heat until the mixture reaches 238 degrees, the soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer. Alternately, you can test the thickness of the syrup by dropping a small amount into a glass of cold water until it holds its shape. In a bowl, beat the 8 additional egg yolks at medium speed until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, and add the boiling sugar syrup a little at a time to the yolks while continuing to beat for 3 or 4 minutes, until light yellow. Beat for 2 to 3 more minutes until the mixture cools. Add the butter or margarine and beat at low speed for 5 more minutes until light and creamy. Add the ground hazelnuts and mix. When torte is baked, allow it to cool completely, then slice into 2 or 3 layers. Spread the hazelnut cream evenly on each layer and the top and sides. Decorate the top with whole hazelnuts. Serves 10. Note: To toast nuts, heat oven to 450 degrees. Place nuts on a cookie sheet on the middle rack and toast for 4 to 5 minutes. Shake pan occasionally and watch nuts to make sure they don't burn. Remove nuts from the oven. Roll them in a towel to remove skins. Let cool about 10 minutes.
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