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« Temptation, Thy Name is Baklava | Main | A Pesto with Pedigree »
Wednesday
Mar012006

Feeding an Addiction with Lemon Almond Torta

235941274_ed56ac737c.jpg
Lemon Almond Torta 

 
From my perspective, the biggest problem with food blogging - I mean apart from the grocery bills and grease smears on the camera and damage to my vision from staring into a computer screen until I see cross-eyed - is the shelf space required. And I'm not talking about the kitchen.

Many of you already know about my shopping problem. It's not shoes or makeup or handbags, or even little jars of fancy salts, sauces or vinegars - it's cookbooks. Truckloads of them. In fact, I seem to have a cookbook habit that is stealthily taking over my life, not to mention every inch of available space in my apartment. According to reputable medical websites I've been reading, it seems I am displaying many of the classic symptoms of addiction when it comes to these books, including uncontrolled cravings, obsessive thought, overspending and paranoia. It's getting to the point where I walk in the door at night prepared to find my friends assembled for an intervention (at which I'm perfectly prepared to admit my problem, so what's the use of staging one?).

Like everyone who finds themselves much further down the slippery slope of addiction than they ever thought they'd be, I used to assume the problem would work itself out, and for many years it pretty much did. Sure, I've always coveted more books than is healthy and any foray to the bookstore inevitably found me buried in the food and drink section, but practical constraints limited my purchasing power: I moved around too much, I didn't have the money for glossy new books, and anyway I didn't always trust myself to be able to pick out a good one from a few short minutes of browsing. But then blogging happened. Not only did I suddenly need a well-stocked library to provide fresh and exciting blog-fodder every week, but reading other blogs put on my radar an endless list of highly-praised books that I absolutely had to have. In the blink of an eye, I could justify enormous payments to amazon.com as 'professional expenditure', while "the blog needs it, not me" quickly became my catch-all mantra. It's probably not coincidental that my accelerated accumulation also coincided with settling down for a few years in Scotland and for the first time finding myself with a regular income, but I know better than to blame shift. My dear blog, because of you in the past year I have begun purchasing new cookbooks at the frightening rate of nearly one per week, I have started to avert my eyes in shame every time I'm called to pick up a delivery from the secretary's office at work, and I have learned to hide my bag behind the coat rack when I come home so Manuel doesn't see the books sticking out. I have become unreasonable, obsessive and downright dishonest about my problem, going so far as to convince my poor husband that he's delusional when he thinks he spies the new titles on the bookshelf. I break into a cold sweat at the thought of having to choose which books to grab on my way out in case of a fire.

Yet as bad as all this may seem, it's not the real problem. No, the real problem is that for all the time, energy and money spent feeding this addiction of mine, I hardly ever use my books for what they're intended. In fact, a quick count of the bookshelves has just revealed that even after a year of blogging, a full three-quarters of my cookbooks have never been cracked open in the kitchen. And even when I intend to use one I somehow manage to get waylaid. Last weekend, for example, I locked myself in the kitchen with several new books, determined to tick off at least one new recipe. When I emerged two hours later, however, what emerged with me was not a stunning new creation courtesy of Pierre, Patricia or Julia, but instead a dessert I've been making faithfully for more than a decade. Never mind that it's one of the most delicious cakes I've ever eaten, sporting a thick layer of dense, buttery sponge, fragrant with ground almonds and almond extract and cradling a smear of bracingly tart lemon curd; never mind about the scattering of crunchy almond slivers providing just the perfect amount of textural contrast to the creamy topping and tight crumb. And forget about the fact that it's a welcome taste of sun-drenched citrusy freshness in the middle of a long, dark winter. The important (and certainly unforgivable) thing is that making it didn't require me to so much as brush the cobwebs from one cookbook.

The most embarrassing part of all, however, is what I did the instant that cake was out of the oven. I cut myself a big slice and went to the computer to look up the price of new bookshelves.

 
Lemon Almond Torta

Source: adapted from a recipe in Chocolatier magazine back in 1993
Serves: 8 
Notes: I have a note that the original recipe (which I can no longer find, unfortunately) suggests that you serve this in a puddle of fresh raspberry coulis for a more formal presentation. I've never tried it that way but I imagine it would be both delicious and visually striking.

For the lemon curd:
3/4 (150g) cup sugar
3 large eggs
juice (~1/2 cup/125ml) and grated zest from 2 large lemons
4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the torta:
2/3 cup (60g) sliced almonds
1/2 cup (75g) blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
icing/confectioner’s sugar, for dusting cake

To make the lemon curd: In a non-corrosive heavy saucepan, combine sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Add the butter. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Don't let it boil! Transfer the curd to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the torta: Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (27cm) round springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of baking parchment. Gently press about half of the sliced almonds against the side of the pan, adhering them about 2/3 of the way up from the bottom.

In a food processor combine the whole toasted almonds, flour, baking powder and salt. Process for 10-20 seconds, until finely chopped. In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly with a fork until frothy.

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer at low speed, beat the butter for 30 seconds, until creamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating for 2-3 minutes, until light in texture and almost white in color. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the almond/flour mixture into the butter mixture until blended (the batter will be stiff). Stir in the beaten eggs just until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer with the back of a spoon. Spoon 8 tablespoons of the lemon curd in an evenly-spaced ring around the top of the cake batter, about a 1/2-inch in from the side of the pan. Spoon 3 tablespoons evenly spaced into the center of the ring (it will all melt together into an even layer in the oven, but if you don't want to bother counting just dollop the curd evenly all over the top). Sprinkle the remaining sliced almonds over the top of the batter. Lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Bake the torta for 25-35 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool the torta completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the torta to loosen it from the side of the pan before removing. Peel off the baking paper and dust the torta with more confectioners’ sugar before serving. Eat at room temperature.

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Reader Comments (52)

Gee, I wish I could offer some clever insight into the cookbook thing. I really wish I could. But you know, something makes me feel like I'm in good company, especially when I come back to read the comments to this post.

I am lucky enough to 1) have a big garage and 2) enough space in my office to store cookbooks. But this doesn't address the need to purchase cookbooks.

Do you think there's a global support group?
March 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermatt
Ah beautiful Melissa! I am reading your post and the more I read, the more I smile ; the more I close my eyes, the more I can see "you", the total culprit with your addiction. What my husband would actually ask is "Is this new?", and me answering "Of course not, I have had it for ages!" I suffer from the same addiction, BUT my new step is that they are all over the floor, on every possible possible corner of the house, with sticky notes indicating "things to cook".

Really really loved your post!
love this post! i have the same addiction and can't wait to go home to hawaii to buy more from amazon.com! this torta looks so refreshing :)
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkat & satoshi
Lovely lemon tart.

As I have been doing this cookbook obsession business for many more years than you have, I am sorry to have to tell you that, as you probably suspected, the problem does not diminish with the years. In addition to the cookbook addiction, which is my most severe, I also have a problem with other books.

I suggest that the only realistic approach is to try to keep up with buying bookcases, squeezing as many as possible into your living space, so that you don't wind up tripping over piles of books and feeling perpetually messy and ridiculous.

This can present some unfortunate decor issues, of course. My dream is a dining room with floor to ceiling bookcases, built in, and a nifty little rolling library ladder. When I win the powerball lottery...
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlindy
hi melissa, lovely torta! this post just about sums the condition up ;) i have had this conversation with s of chubbyhubby - we've come to the conclusion that it's not whether you use a book or even the recipes within it, it's the assurance of knowing exactly where to look .ie.right there on your shelves come the day in the distant future when you do need to look it up! you know you've gone past the point of no return when everything is translated into cookbook units eg. another pair of kitten heels versus 4 new books?
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJ
I discovered recently the overloaded world of food blogs.
Your blog is one of the most inspired, rich and «worth reading».
Thank you to be there.

cl.
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercl.
Though I am surprisingly restrained when it comes to cookbook purchases, I am completely out of control when it comes to cakes containing almonds! And lemon curd? My dear, your palate never fails.
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMolly
The torta looks really cute and tempting! Did you make one big torta, or several smaller ones?
I, too, suffer from the same compulsive cookbook buying habit. Luckily I don't have a significant other to raise an eyebrow when I buy yet another one, but the idea of having to transport all those books and mags back home in a year or two is already sending shivers down my spine..
If you are really worried about having cookbooks that have never been cracked up in the kitchen, then I'm happy to borrow them and do it for you. Again:)
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPille
Dear Melissa,
Perhaps I should call you PARTNER IN CRIME from now on, rather than our former used term COOKBOOK AFICIONADO... because I know all the dirty tricks about smuggling new cookbooks unseen through the back door ;) But then - there are worse addictions, no? And funnily my entire social environment seems to adapt to it – even my boss gave me cookbooks for Christmas!
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNicky
Ha! Most of us I guess can relate to your "problem" with cookbooks or any cooking prints (magazines!)
I went through a kind of "12 steps program" 3 years ago and it's working despite my recent cooking blog. Let's say since we have kids, school tuitions fold 2 and in a few months fold 3, a century and a half old house to renovate... You get the picture...
I'm thankfull though for the time I was like you and buying truckloads of cookbooks and magazines. I have an enormous stock to browse now that I can't buy anymore and it makes the craving less hard to endure.
So go ahead and buy while you can! Some spend the same kind of money smoking cigarettes. I prefer your kind of addiction.
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterZoubida
It was the title of this post that caught my caught my attention. Lemon?! Oh, how I love lemons!

Then I saw the photo. Gorgeous!

Then I read the post, sympathising completely with your cookbook addiction while being mildly reassured at the same time. "See, I'm not so far gone! Maybe I'll celebrate by buying a cookbook." :-)

Thanks for this marvellous post and delicious recipe!
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTania
It's not just cookbooks, it's books, I can't pass a Waterstones or Borders without being pulled in, and leaving empty handed feels like a faliure. My boyfriend has finally realised that the weekly extravegance of coffee on a Sunday morning at Borders is far too dangerous. ;)
March 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterToast
Melissa,

My heartfelt thanks! It is so reassuring to know that I am no longer alone in the wilderness of cookbook addiction. For awhile, I thought I was the only one.

I know exactly how you feel. I have never ... and I mean NEVER ... met a food and drink section of a bookstore that I didn't like.

Take heart, my friend! Just think how lovely your books will look on the new shelves ...

(Oh yes ... the torta is divine!)
March 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne
When I moved from New York City to Buenos Aires did I bring my furniture? Did I bring all my kitchen utensils, plates and glassware (well, some of it)? Did I bring my cookbooks? Every last one of them - 35 boxes worth!
March 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSaltShaker
Hi Melissa,

It never ceases to amaze my husband that I can read a cookbook like he reads a novel! Poor man, will he never understand what you and I already know? Cookbooks mean comfort, not just comfort food. Feeling down? Just pick up one of those glossy delights and suddenly you are spiraled into a world of beautiful tabletops and lovely creations from you own hand designed to please and delight all those dinner guests who visit in your imagination. Forget the fact that we will NEVER have time to create all these beauties, in our minds we have not only created them, we have done so perfectly!

Buy more and dream!

Di
March 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDi
thanks for the recipe. I really need to start using mykitchenaid mixer. Its sitting on my counter top collecting dust. thanks for the inspiration.
March 3, 2006 | Unregistered Commentershaz
Thanks for posting a lemon and almond dessert...in my opinion there are not enough lemon desserts. I will definatley give this one a try. Don't worry about your cookbook addiction....really it could be a lot worse.
March 4, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterhag
Lemons and cookbooks, I mean what could be sweeter. Reading the comments, I was hoping to discover some new tricks for concealing my purchases. Alas, no I've used them all. I also love lemon and must try the torta. Terrific post.
March 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTanna
I've recently emerged from a cookbook buying binge myself where I even ordered books from the UK Amazon site that aren't available in the US. And one book from Spain. Yes, I am an addict. When and where is our first meeting of CAA, Cookbook Addicts Anonymous? I could use a support group (especially if you bring along some of those lemon almond tortas).
March 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBrett
Books are good -- No matter how many! ;-)

I have yet to start my cookbook collection. I only have about 4 now, but I do have a growing list of cookbooks to buy. Very long list.

Thanks for another enticing recipe!

Best,
Paz
March 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPaz
I am so glad that I'm not the only one completely hooked on cookbooks, food magazines, etc...! Fortunately I have a local library that I can borrow from as well...then write down my favourite recipes from them into a notebook or store in my computer!! Lemon and almond - I can't wait to try this and Chocolatier is one of my all time favourite magazines...drool and the photography is amazing!!
March 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCat
It's hard to move away from tried-and-true favorites -- I find myself doing the same thing, all too often! But the joy of the Internets is that we get to share each others' faves. I know I'm going to give this gorgeous torta a whirl...
March 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
That photograph is completely ridiculous! Must have some.

And oh yes, I understand the problem of the bulging shelves. I try to restrain myself. I really do. But....

Lovely post, my dear.
March 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commentershauna
Melissa, so pretty! I want one. If I had known about your extensive cookbook collection when we first met last year I would have plunked myself down on your couch and sent you with our men off to dinner without me. Oh yes I would have! I've had to tone down my own tendency to buy cookbooks because of our constant moving, but one of these days when we know we are settled, the games will begin again! Until then, I'll just cook the stuff that you post about ;)
March 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermichele
Hi Matt - As you can see, there is obviously a need for a global support group! I'm sure you'd be the envy of everybody there, however, with all your oodles of storage space. Maybe I could rent some space in your garage? ;)

Hi Bea - Oh yes, you'll find many notes scattered around my apartment as well, on sticky notes, on the back of envelopes, on ragged scraps of paper... You know, your comment about your husband made me realize that perhaps we're not the only ones who need a support group - maybe we should set up a 'partners of cookbook addicts anonymous' where they can all get together and gripe about us!

Hi K&S - I do the same thing every time I go back to the US for a visit... I take one whole suitcase that I know will only be filled with cookbooks on the return trip!

Hi Lindy - Oh dear, I was afraid someone would say that. Then again, you're obviously coping quite well, despite never having won the powerball lottery, so maybe the future's not quite as bleak as I fear. And I do appreciate the advice about keeping things organized, as I can already feel the chaos descending...

Hi J - I couldn't have said it better myself. You are so right about the value of having the assurance that the information is there, should we ever need it (and assuming we remember where we read it), as well as having the tendency to convert other purchases into cookbook units... Our brains are obviously functioning on the same wavelength.

Hi cl - Thank you!

Hi Molly - You are surprisingly restrained when it comes to cookbooks, I've noticed - or at least you put up a good front! Almonds, on the other hand, you've left no doubts about, and I'm not surprised to hear that this tickles your fancy. Our palates are certainly two of a kind.

Hi Pille - You're quite observant, I did make individual-sized tortas for the picture. They were so cute! And yes, I sympathize wholeheartedly about transporting your collection back to Estonia. Just remember, if you can't fit anything into the suitcases... Well, you know where it would find a good home! ;)

Hi Nicky - I don't know about you, but I'm definitely feeling criminal these days ;) Maybe I would feel better about my problem if I went back to the 'aficionado' label, but something tells me that aficionados would soon kick me back out of their club when they see the dirty tricks I do to get my 'fix'...

Hi Zoubida - I admire your restraint, necessity or not! And yes, I suppose it won't always be this easy for me to buy them, so I'd better do it while I can... Still, I've got to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, and sometimes I realize how close I can come to ignoring that fact when there are new books to be bought!

Hi Tania - Ah yes, I recognize that strand of logic! I do believe that's another sign of addiction, the cookbook-as-reward symptom... Well, at least you're in good company. My first reaction at seeing everyone here commiserate was to think the same thing!

Hi Toast - Yes, that does sound dangerous, but what fun is life without a little danger? ;)

Hi Ivonne - No, you are most certainly *not* alone in this! Before I started blogging I too thought I was the only one who could happily live in the food section of the bookstore, but now I know there are at least enough of us to set up a good sized settlement colony there!

Hi Saltshaker - Oh my, 35 boxes to Argentina? You have just earned my utmost respect. I won't ask you how much it cost to ship them!

Hi Di - I'm right there with you, I read cookbooks like novels - only that novels I normally read once and give away, while cookbooks I can pick up again and again! And yes, it is all about the dreaming, isn't it?

Hi Shaz - Take it from someone who still drools over the thought of having a KitchenAid: use it! Life's too short to let all those tortas go unmade... ;)

Hi Hag - I suppose you're right, things could be worse... I could have so many that I'd need to rent a second apartment just to store them in. And I agree with you about lemon desserts, there are never enough!

Hi Tanna - That is so funny that you've used all those tricks too -- it makes me feel slightly less guilty!

Hi Brett - CAA sounds like a great idea, though I suspect our meetings would probably end in swapping recommendations rather than helping each other abstain! And I can't say I find ordering from the UK very extreme, since I regularly order things from the US to be shipped here. I do get funny looks from my colleagues, though, when yet another book-shaped package with foreign stamps shows up for me...

Hi Paz - It sounds like you have some serious catching up to do! ;) I'm curious - what's on the top of your list?

Hi Cat - Thank you! I use the library trick too. I've got folders on my computer of photos I've taken of pages from library cookbooks, when there were just too many good recipes to write down by hand. But the library has probably caused me to spend more money than it's saved me, as I inevitably find good books there that I just have to buy myself...

Hi Julie - You're absolutely right, I know I'm much more likely to make a recipe when I read that it's another blogger's favorite than when I suspect it was invented for a magazine deadline! Do let me know if you like this :)

Hi Shauna - Thank you, my dear. Tell me, does the restraint tactic work for you? It seems to be an unknown concept in these parts...

Hi Michele - I can't believe you didn't spot it... It takes up half the living room! I fully understand the need to curb the buying impulse when they future's so uncertain - I did the same thing myself for years. Unfortunately I think it may have backfired, as now I try to make up for all that lost time by buying every book in sight! But who knows, maybe you're not as weak-willed as me ;)
March 8, 2006 | Registered Commentermelissa
Know the feeling all to well. Lately I've resorted to rewarding myself with the cookbook that I want after I've used for example 10 recipes from cookbooks or magazines that I already have,keeping track of the ones I've made on the computer. Not that I would have the patience for it all the time, but fairly rewarding. Am now working on an Indian list,before I order the Indian cookbook I'm coveting ('Cooking Like Mummyji') - 3 down,7 to go...
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHildi
As you can probably guess by all of these somments you are not alone. I too share your obsession & also share it with fiction. One thing I do is release my books into the wild through Bookcrossing - a great website if you havent heard of it. So far I have not parted with the cookboks though, only old fiction that was never that good to start with. And yes I keep buying up the books, this week I have already acquired 2 new books, one from my darling hubby who hasnt quite realised the extent of my problem & one from ebay - my firt win - can see ebay could present some future problems, its almost like hte fun of gambling, on no what have i started???
March 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnge
Oh I used to think you were so good and restrained (copying down recipes in your head in bookstores) and instead you are just like me!!! Hehehehe.

I keep resolving to be better and actually cook from some of my collection but it just doesn't happen. I will try harder ... soon!
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterplum
I'm totally with you on the cookbook addiction, and just as guilty about not using them too much.
March 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKalyn
Hello Melissa,

Thanks so much for the recipe. I tried it last week and it was scrumptious!
March 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commentertiptup
Hi Hildi - Brilliant strategy, I must say! I don't know if I could stick to it, undisciplined as I am, but I admire that you can. I've heard great things about Cooking like Mummyji, by the way, so I imagine the wait will be worth it!

Hi Ange - I hadn't heard of Bookcrossing, so thanks for the info. I think I could do that with other books (I can only read most novels once, for example), but I am dangerously attached to my cookbooks, even those I've never used. And speaking of dangerous addictions, I know the perils of ebay all too well. I've read that the 'high' we experience from winning an auction is psychologically addicting to many people... I certainly believe it!

Hi Plum - Ha! I guess I fooled you, since my cookbook behavior is most certainly NOT limited to memorizing recipes in the bookstore ;) I just do that when I have a particularly pressing need for a recipe and haven't had time to suss out internet prices... Anyway, welcome to the club!

Hi Kalyn - And a very warm welcome to the club for you too!

Hi Tiptup - Wonderful, I'm so glad you liked it! Now you understand why it's been part of my collection for so long :)
March 14, 2006 | Registered Commentermelissa
Melissa,
Dessert and cookbooks...I don't know why I hadn't wandered over to your website sooner! That is one beautitful torte - the flavors sound so perfect!

I agree with you that since I started blogging I have increased my rate of cookbook acquisition - and most of them are on my bedroom floor!
March 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnita
I made your lemon almond torta...delicious. The only problem I had was making the sliced almonds stick to the side of the pan. Any tips?
April 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin
Hi Caitlin, I'm glad you liked it! Two possibilities for getting those almonds to stick are 1) use a quite thick layer of soft butter to grease the sides of the springform, or b) instead of greasing it, make a gluey paste from some powdered sugar and a bit of water and use that to paint the sides of the pan - this should be sticky enough to hold onto those almonds. You can also use that same paste to adhere a few more to the sides of the cake after it has already baked ;)
April 5, 2006 | Registered Commentermelissa
Melissa,
First let me say what an inspiring site! Your descriptions and anecdotes for each recipe is detailed to perfection.
Being another recipe "buff" as my husband (& indeed all my family) calls me, rest assured, you are not alone. I collect cookery books, mags, newspaper cutouts and anything from the net with a fiery ambition on a task I have to accomplish each day. So, like you, I am inundated with the stuff all over. Even at my workplace, it's getting me down but that's the only world I know and love and enjoy and will always savour.
Another issue, the salt one. Yes, in Indian cooking we do temper our food, fruit and drinks (sherbets) with a pinch of salt and rock salt is more widely used than the commercial brands, besides even Martha Stewart always recommends using salt in all desserts to give it that little oomph! Anyway, I enjoyed your site to the fullest
Carol from Mumbai, India.
August 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Miranda

you are truly an artist!!! i love reading your entries, and savoring evey bit of pixel of your beautiful photographs. kudos!!!

ps. i have the same addiction to cookbooks. and there is no solution.

June 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpasion

Your site is beautiful.

September 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Cherkasky

Dear Melissa, your tiny torta looks divine. Did you change the cooking time/temperature from the full sized one?
I thought I had my cookbook addiction under control when I built my new house - there was just room for a 36" 3 shelf book stand which would restrict me to essentials. Ten years later it had expanded to floor to ceiling shelves along a 14 foot wall in one bedroom. A couple of months ago the whole shebang peeled off the wall, warping industrial brackets and leaving an avalanche of books filling the floor.It really is time to pare down to essentials!

June 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPatsy

Patsy - I'm sure I did reduce the cooking time significantly for the small torta, but unfortunately I didn't keep a record of it. As for your shelf collapsing, yikes! At least it wasn't a shelf above your bed, which is (gulp) what we have...

June 9, 2008 | Registered Commentermelissa

I made this dessert with a blackberry coulis for Easter last night... 18 individual cakes, doubled your recipe. Worked brilliantly... Everyone loved it.

Love your blog, keep up the good work!

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAgatha

This looks lovely and is a strong candidate for a friend's birthday next week. Do you think I could substitute almond meal for the blanched almonds, which will be ground anyhow?

(The other birthday-cake option is your chocolate heroin cake - I do hate to pass up an excuse for chocolate overindulgence!)

Yes, I've done that, though the flavor suffers a little since ground almonds are much trickier to toast. If you want to try, spread them in a thin, even layer on a baking sheet and put them in a 300F/150C until just pale gold. Hope you like the cake - it's still one of my favorites! -m

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCara

Oh dear. I'm afraid I have the same problem. Lately though, I've been checking out cookbooks from the library and copying pages I like. If there are lots of them, then I'll buy the book for my own library. And this cake is just heavenly. Can't wait to make it.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

Melissa, I just came across your blog a few days ago. This is the first of your recipes I've tried. I've got my torta in the oven. A neighbor just walked in to borrow a water urn and said, "It smells amazing in here. Like something very sophisticated." I hope if, back in 2006, this post was you settling for something tried and true, that it gives you some pleasure to know that you inspired this bored baker to get excited again about making something new. Thanks, Melissa!

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha

Melissa, I can relate to the cookbook addiction. I inherited it from my mom, and now seems my daughter has inherited it from me. But what fun it is to turn those pages and make plans for whatever it might be. I've recently found pinterest (which is where I found this yummy sounding Lemon Almond Torta) and I find the recipes only stack up on my pin boards now and don't take up any room in my cookbook packed cupboards. Thanks for sharing this recipe, can't wait to try it.
Sheral 25 Aug.2012

August 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSheral

Good to know I am not alone, currently looking for a new bookshelf for the LIBRARY also!

August 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWendy R

This sounds delicious! I'll have to try it. As for the cookbook addiction...maybe you could try cooking through every recipe in all of your cookbooks before buying any new ones? It might hinder your buying process, and it might be a fun project!

September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDevon

For a while I've been totally craving for almonds and lemon. I shall try this, perhaps tomorrow! It looks soooo delicious! By the way, I also have a thing for cookbooks. Someone already asked how I can have so many, even though I think I have less than 20... still quite a lot I guess.

September 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertarja

Found this on pinterest and just had to try it! I made it for my craft group a few weeks ago and they were very impressed. It was delicious! the only problem I had was that I used all the curd and it made the torta too heavy and hard to keep from collapsing when a piece was cut. If you use the 8 tablespoon suggested you'll be throwing out about half the curd and I just didnt want to waste it. Also my torta did not raise as much as the one from your picture.
Thanks!

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Love your blog and can totally relate to all the cookbooks (Not to mention binders full of recipes I've printed or torn out of magazines over the years - it's crazy) !

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

The picture on Pinterest compelled me to try making this. The word my husband used to describe..."sublime". Turned out perfect, I did have to cook it almos an hour before it set. Thanks for a great recipe.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

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