Call me crazy but I decided to open the vintage bottle of grappa that we had sitting at home when I read the recipe for Grappa, Currant, and Pine Nut Torte by Alice Medrich. It is the bottle that we open for special holidays and we will have just a shot…
Yes, this weekend it was time to celebrate with Lindy Bout VI! No, we did not compete but we had so much fun!
In it’s original version by Alice Medrich, this torte is made with semolina flour, currants, and cream of tartar. Since I almost never buy these ingredients, I ended up making some minor substitutions but keeping the star ingredient – grappa!
Traditionally, grappa is made from the leftover by-product from winemaking, also known as pomace. After it is mixed with sugar and left to ferment for a while, the brandy is distilled. Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Balkan brandy makers are famous for their own variations of grappa. It is being enjoyed as both an aperitif and as a digestive. The flavor is hugely dependent on the type and quality of the grapes being used, the distillation and aging processes.
Grappa and chocolate? Yes, please!
Grappa, Raisins, and Pine Nut Torte
Adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich
¼ cup (60 mL) grappa
1/3 cup (50 g) raisins
¼ cup (50 g) almonds, finely ground
¼ (30 g) cup all-purpose flour
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ¾ (200 g) sticks butter, cut into small pieces
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp (1.25 mL) lemon juice
3 tablespoons (15 g) pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 375F (190C) and position the rack in the lower third. Line with parchment paper a 9 inch springform pan.
- Mix the raisins with the grappa.
- Mix the all-purpose flour with the ground almonds.
- Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bowl. Stir the chocolate from time to time, until it is almost melted. Remove from the heat and stir the chocolate until melted.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 2/3 cup of the sugar, and salt until the mixture is pale and thick. Add the melted chocolate, raisins, and grappa.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and lemon juice on medium speed until white and foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, beating on high speed until the egg whites are almost stiff.
- Add 1/3 of the egg whites, all-purpose flour, and ground almonds into the chocolate mixture and fold gently.
- Add the remaining egg whites and spoon batter into the prepared springform pan.
- Sprinkle the top generously with pine nuts.
- Bake until a tester inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.