Posted in Christmas, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Seasons, Winter

An Example of Life Going On

Tiny Christmas Tree
Tiny Christmas Tree

It’s not the greatest picture in the world, but this and one other small tree have brightened our living room for about two weeks. It’s been a consolation as well as a joy to see. I love Christmas!

I’ve finished the last of my Christmas baking – a glazed lemon tea bread – and have wrapped it for travel tomorrow. It’ll join other baked goods: peanut butter chocolate-chip cookies, coconut almond meringues and a loaf of “Skabana” bread, which is made with peanut butter and bananas. My sister is baking up a storm of her own. It’ll be a tasty Christmas!

Tea Time
Tea Time (Photo credit: Maia C)
Posted in Uncategorized

Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte


I joined my husband for a Passover seder last night, amidst the rising flood-waters. Got a chance to see my two nephews, along with my Albany-based brother and sister-in-law. We had a wonderful evening and a wonderful meal. I was placed in charge of desserts and brought this flour-less Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte. I whipped some cream to go along with it, and cut up some strawberries and let them macerate in a tiny amount of sugar.

Imagine this torte with a dollop of whipped cream and a hearty spoonful of strawberries. Magnifico!


  • Butter or shortening, for the pan
  • 1 cup (5 oz) unblanched or blanched whole or chopped almonds
  • 7 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sugar, divided in half
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 7 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, beaten to soft peaks


  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with removable base. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper cut to fit. Butter the pan, or apply shortening.
  2. In a food processor, combine the almonds, chocolate, 1/2 cup of the sugar and the salt. Pulse until the almonds and chocolate are finely chopped but not pulverized or powdered.
  3. In an electric mixer beat the eff whites with cream of tartar until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and conbtinue beating until the whites are stiff but not dry.
  4. With a large metal spoon, fold 1/3 of the nut-chocolate mixture into the whites. Then fold in half the remaining mixture, then the remaining mixture.
  5. Spread the batter in the pan and smooth the top. bake the torte for 25-30 minutes, or until it rises and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a little melted chocolate. Set on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes
  6. Unlatch the spring and lift off the band. Use a wide metal spatula to slide the cake onto a platter, carefully removing the parchment paper. Let the cake cool completely.
  7. Dust with cocoa and serve with whipped cream

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