Method

Bake 2 layers, one with a rim, and fill the rimmed layer with sweet bechamel. For 6 persons, mash ½ spoon very fresh butter with ½ glass flour, dilute with 2 glasses cream, and add lemon zest and glass fine sugar. Boil thoroughly to thicken, remove from the fire, and immediately beat in 2 egg yolks, stirring briskly. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve and let it cool. Fill the torte with the bechamel, cover with the other layer, glaze, and serve.

The bechamel may be varied as desired. Instead of lemon zest, vanilla or cinnamon may be added, or orange flower water, or finely pounded bitter or sweet almonds or pistachios. Or instead of 2 glasses cream, use 1 glass cream and 1 glass strong coffee, and instead of ½ glass flour, use ¼ glass flour and lb grated chocolate, etc.

This same torte may be baked from either short pastry or biscuit dough. Glaze with an appropriate icing; for example, chocolate icing goes with bitter almonds, vanilla, or rum, while icing with orange flower water goes with bechamel and sweet almonds, etc.

*This recipe, which is unusually flexible, demonstrates an easy familiarity with both the processes and ingredients involved. Molokhovets clearly was comfortable with substitutions and recognized that the recipe could be adapted readily to whatever supplies were available.

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