This recipe was sent to me by Budino when I requested ideas for dairy-free baked desserts. I made the torte yesterday and it's fantastic. To be able to share it with you, I have changed the wording and made a few tiny adjustments so the copyright police don't come after us. (Also, I don't have a food processor so I used my trusty stick blender with attachment.)
The torte is beautiful, ethereally light and delicately spicy with a slight apricoty tang. Quite unlike anything Ive ever had before. And: no flour, no butter (or indeed, any other oil!). Thank you, Budino!
(Passover) APRICOT TORTE (dairy-free)
makes a 10 cake or two thinner 9 cakes; if baking two cakes, double the quantity of sliced almonds in the recipe
8 oz blanched whole almonds
1/3 cup (or more) blanched sliced almonds (for garnish)
1 C granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
8 oz dried apricots (I used California for their more pronounced flavor)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
8 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp coarse salt
apricot preserves for glaze
powdered sugar (for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 325. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the almonds in the oven for about ten minutes or more, shaking the sheet occasionally, until they look tanned all over. Simultaneously in a separate pan, toast the sliced almonds (they will take a shorter time). Set aside to cool.
Grease a 10" springform pan or two 9" pans; coat the inside/s with granulated sugar and tap out any excess. With a sharp knife, chop the apricots finely (about 1/8 inch size). Grind the cooled almonds (in a processor or with a stick blender attachment) to a powder. [Note: The original recipe said to chop the apricots and almonds in a processor together to the same texture, but I wanted chunkier apricots (for looks) and fine almonds (for lightness); there will be almonds slices at the top and sides to provide crunch.] With your fingers mix the ground almonds with the apricots, add lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and stir to combine. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and 1/2 c sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
In another large bowl, mix the egg whites with salt and lemon and beat until foamy. In several additions, beat in 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Now fold the beaten whites into the yolk mixture; carefully fold in the apricot and almond mixture until just combined.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake at 325 degrees until the top is golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool on a rack for ten minutes, then release and cool completely.
Bring the apricot preserves to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat (if there are large pieces of fruit, you can use a stick blender to puree them), adding 2 spoonfuls of apricot brandy if desired, and allow excess moisture to evaporate about 4 minutes or until quite thick. Remove from the heat and strain (I didnt, the texture was good enough after blending). Spread the glaze onto the cooled torte (I find that a silicone spatula works better than a brush). Sprinkle with sliced almonds and powdered sugar.