Maple-Walnut Espresso Torte

20 Apr

My recipe from Bon Appetit (photo by: Pornchai Mittongtare)

There are many nights of Passover to celebrate and time to eat more cake.  No doubt many of you have had your share of sticky, wet coconut macaroons, fluffy angel cakes, chocolate matzoh buttercrunch, and flourless chocolate cakes.  But here’s another to try, even if you’re not Jewish.  Something light and nutty and perfect for Easter dinner, too, served with diced ripe pineapple and crème fraîche, or dense vanilla-flecked ice cream strewn with raspberries.  Perfect little raspberries remind me of nature’s gum drops. The same ingredients that go into the cake — espresso, cardamom, lemon, and real maple syrup — are used to make the aromatic elixir that gets poured over the cake after baking.  Even if matzoh meal is not an ingredient usually kept in your cupboard, you will find it amply displayed in the supermarket.   Who knows?  It might even inspire you to make matzoh ball soup — once the provenance of Jewish households — it is a staple on many a deli menu sprinkled across America.  I have always meant to try making this cake with flour, too, but have not as yet.  I will let you know how to accurately swap out the matzoh meal another time.  But now, do enjoy this special cake as is.

During Passover, I like a slice with my strong morning coffee and another slice with my afternooon tea.   So far, this Passover, I have eaten many delicious new things, too.  A fruit salad with lychees, hawthorne berry brandy, bits of sliced oranges with their rind, mango, honey and much more.  I told my herbalist friend (also a bee-keeper), who made it, that I was sure these were the flavors favored by Cleopatra.  The taste was something so exotic that I can’t stop thinking about it!  Also exciting was the Iraqi haroset prepared by my friend Debbie –made with only two ingredients, date molasses and walnuts, it brought a new dimension and conversation to the meal.  Last night at our tiny Seder for three, we dribbled it on matzoh and, bereft of Gold’s horseradish, we dabbed it with wasabi!  New traditions begin.

Maple-Walnut Espresso Torte with Lemon-Espresso Syrup
You can serve this with non-dairy whipped topping that is kosher-for-Passover and garnish with walnut halves.

2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus  1/2 cup real maple syrup
5 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2-1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
8 ounces walnuts, about 2 cups
1/2 cup matzoh meal
4 extra-large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Oil an 8 or 9-inch springform pan.  In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of the espresso, and 1/4 teaspoon of the cardamom.  Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then simmer 5 minutes until thickened.  Cool.

Process the walnuts and matzoh meal in a food processor until finely ground.  With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, the remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt on high for 4 minutes.  Add the remaining 4 teaspoons espresso, 2 teaspoons cardamom, and lemon zest; beat 3 minutes.  Stir in the walnut mixture.  Pour into the pan.  Bake40 minutes, until firm to the touch.  Pour 1/4 cup syrup over the cake; let cool.  Serve in wedges, drizzled with the remaining syrup.  Serves 8

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