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Chocolate Cherry Torte (D/P, KLP, TNT)
Source: Adapted from Lora Brody recipe published in the NY Times
Serves: 12

12 tablespoons butter or margarine plus some for greasing pan
3 tablespoons ground pecans (she uses bread crumbs)
1 24-oz. jar or can Morello or sour cherries (I often can't find the tart cherries and have used sweet ones)
6 oz. sweet chocolate (I use semi sweet chocolate chips)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or equivalent vanilla sugar)
1/2 tsp. almond extract or bitter almond extract (see notes)
1/2 cup ground almonds (I used 1 cup ground pecans)
2/3 cup flour (I used 1/3 cup matzo cake flour)
1 8-oz. can almond paste

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. instant espresso coffee
8 oz. sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream of coconut (or non-dairy creamer)
1 tsp. instant coffee
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F; put rack in center of oven.

Grease the inside of an 9" or 10" springform pan. Add the 3 tablespoons nuts and shake pan to coat bottom and sides.

Drain cherries. Set aside.

Either melt chocolate in double boiler or in measuring cup with 4 tablespoons butter in microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes.

Put remaining butter in mixer or processor with sugar and blend until light and creamy. Add one egg; mix well, then add second egg and mix well. Add extracts or vanilla sugar. Stir in melted chocolate or process with one or 2 quick on/offs.

Mix in nuts and matzo cake flour. Process the same as chocolate.

Beat in remaining egg.

Pour and scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth top with spatula. Arrange cherries in concentric circles on top and press into batter so just the tops are showing.

Bake for 50 minutes to one hour. Don't overbake. The cake may look dry on top, but will be moist inside. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Bring cream to boil in heavy sauce pan. Stir in coffee. Reduce to medium heat and add chocolate chips; stir gently until melted with no lumps. Thin with 1 to 2 tsp. hot water if too thick.

This is the fun part.
Put a length of waxed paper on flat surface. Work the almond paste into a flat round. Cover with the 2nd sheet of waxed paper and roll out until quite thin (about 1/16th"). Take off top layer of waxed paper. Using the side of the spring can as a guide, cut out a circle that will fit the top of the cake (Cut inside the spring pan guide). Invert the circle of paste on the top of the torte and carefully peel off the waxed paper. Trim to fit the top of the cake. Save extra pieces to patch any torn part or use for decorations.

Place cake on a rack over a sheet of waxed paper to catch drippings. Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake spreading it with a spatula. It should cover the top and sides of cake. You can chill the cake briefly and and a second coat if desired.

To Decorate:
I divided the marzipan in half and tinted one half dark pink and the other green. I rolled about 8 cherries and arranged them in a bunch on top of the cake. Then I rolled thin stems from the green and placed them from the cherries altogether on the top to look like a bunch of cherries. I cut free form leaves to put at the top of the stems. It looks great!

This cake will keep unrefrigerated for 2 days but can be frozen. Glaze will lose shine. You can make and freeze decorations separately and save extra glaze in frig. When you defrost the cake, coat with second glaze and then add decorations.

Poster's Notes:
This is a Lora Brody recipe published in the NY Times Magazine section many years ago that is not Pesachadich. I revised it substantially to use during Passover. It is absolutely delicious and gorgeous!

Although it calls for ground almonds, we are a pecan producing state and pecan meal is easy to obtain which is why I used it. You can certainly use almonds. This looks and sounds complicated, but it is easy if you use the microwave and processor. I've tried to explain the procedure very thoroughly.

We have a flavoring in the South I've not seen elsewhere. It is called butter, nut and vanilla flavor. It doesn't have butter nor any liquor in it and can be substituted for both the extracts.

Posted by Judith Sobel

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A