Torta Grassa

Almond Tart from Parma

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Preparation info

  • Makes

    10 to 12

    servings
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

Although the translation of this dessert’s name (fatty or greasy tart) is less than appealing, the taste and texture of the torta are wonderful. The flavor has a sophisticated richness, despite the simple ingredients. This version is adapted from L’arte della pasticceria a Parma (The Art of Pastry-Making in Parma) by Ugo Falavigna, whose Pasticceria Torino is the best pastry shop in Parma.

Ingredients

    Pasta Frolla

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg

    Almond Filling

  • 5 large eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch each: ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups blanched almonds, ground
  • ¼ cup candied orange peel, finely diced, or 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Method

For the pasta frolla, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub in the butter until it is absorbed, making sure the mixture remains cool and powdery and does not become pasty. Beat the egg and stir in with a fork. Continue stirring until the dough holds together, then knead it briefly, just until smooth. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until firm.

While the dough is resting, make the filling. Whisk the eggs with the salt and spices and whisk in the sugar in a stream. Whisk in the almonds and whip the mixture, either with a hand mixer set at medium speed or in a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whip, until it is very light in color and increased in volume, about 7 or 8 minutes. Whip in the candied orange peel or orange zest.

On a floured surface, roll out the pasta frolla into a 14-inch disk and line a buttered 10-inch layer cake pan with it. Trim off the excess dough at the rim of the pan. Fold about ¼ inch of the dough into the pan and press well into place against the side of the pan to make a finished top edge for the torta. Pour in the filling. Scatter the sliced almonds on the filling.

Bake the torta at 350, degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set and the pastry is baked through. Cool in the pan on a rack. Invert the torta onto a platter, remove the pan, replace with another platter, and invert. Replace any sliced almonds that fall off the surface of the torta. Dust lightly with the confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Confectioners’ sugar for finishing