This recipe for Fresh Peach Almond Torte combines fresh summer peaches, almonds, and almond meal to make a delicious torte. Upside-down, or right-side up, it's a summer celebration
The Making of Fresh Peach Almond Torte
Peach season is in full swing and I got my crop...
Yep ladies and gentlemen, that was my crop. My entire crop. One (that's 1) peach. And to add insult to injury, it ripened when I was away.
Trevor told me it was delicious.
So I went to the Farmer's Market and bought some that other people had grown and decided to make this torte.
I often say I'm a cook, but only a Baker by name. This is my story.
Cake, Torte, Tart
What is the difference between a cake, torte, and tart? Let's start with the tart as it's the easiest - A tart is generally an open-faced pastry, made with pie crust or a shortcrust, that is baked with fruit, and sometimes includes a layer of creamy filling, such as custard, over the top of the crust.
A cake and a torte are much closer in style - with the major difference being cakes are made with flour, eggs, sugar, and butter whereas a torte contains little flour, using nut meals or even breadcrumbs in place of the flour. Cakes are light and fluffy, tortes are denser and heavier.
Since this recipe for Fresh Peach Almond Torte uses almond meal and very little flour, it is a torte, not a cake.
Almond meal is not quite the same as almond flour. Almond flour is finely ground-blanched almonds, whereas almond meal is coarser and can be made from either balanced or skin-on almonds. You can buy almond meal in many markets, but it is also super easy to make yourself and at less cost.
For this recipe, measure out 8 ounces of almonds (I did use toasted almonds as I love the flavor) and put them into your food processor - process, using on/off pulses until they resemble a very coarse meal. Some small pieces are fine. DO NOT over-process or you will have almond butter. Also not the same as almond meal.
That's why it's important to use on/off pulses. I used about 35 pulses to get it right.
A good idea - gone bad - or good?
As a recipe developer, who knows pretty well how to cook and which flavors work together, I had a GREAT idea for this torte. I was going to make it like my Pineapple Macadamia Nut Upside Down Cake.
But with peaches and almonds.
And in a springform pan. I have a nice non-stick springform pan that has a cover for storing a keeping. A perfect choice, or so I thought.
Now here's the deal. When I made the Pineapple Macadamia Nut Upside Down Cake I used my well-seasoned cast-iron pan. It was the perfect choice. A springform pan is not, shall we say, leakproof. So when I put my butter, brown sugar, nuts, and peach pieces on the bottom, it really looked good.
In reality, what happened was...
The Big Ugly
The butter leaked out, the brown sugar slightly burnt, and well, the cake didn't actually come out cleanly from the pan.
Not to be deterred, I decided that it's now a right-side-up upside-down cake.
No harm, no foul.
Actually, all the taste testers thought the deep caramelization on the bottom was on purpose.
I didn't correct them.
Adjust and go on. Sometimes that's what needs to be learned in cooking. A perceived "disaster" can work, you just need to own it, and work it.
But the truth of the matter is, it was delicious. We love the dense cake, the full richness of the almond flavor, and, at the end of the day, the peaches, both inside and on top with freshly whipped cream.
A summertime treat!
Next year, God willing and the creeks don't rise, and I have a full crop of peaches, I'll make this again. And try it in my reliable, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.
You? You can choose the leak and bake method, OR, I recommend you use a sealed, no leak, cake pan.
Let me know how it turns out.
It was written in the stars
I was going to publish this as written to this point because I thought it was a good story, and then, right before I hit publish, I read my horoscope for today. My favorite astrologer at Cainer.com wrote:
"Some decisions are so small and inconsequential, that you might not care either way. Especially if you're the only person who has to deal with the outcome. After all, you know the limits of your abilities. If all possible consequences are within your capabilities, it's easy to be laissez-faire. But it's not as simple when your decision affects others. This is the crux of your present dilemma. As the Grand Trine emphasizes clarity of thought and responsibilities, deep down, you do know what to do"
And I knew right then and there what to do. I did have a responsibility - a responsibility to make sure the alternative - my vision - was a good one. So I made the cake, in the middle of all the other chaos in my life, the way I thought it should be made.
I used my well-seasoned cast-iron pan and followed the recipe for making the upside-down top. It took less time for my skillet to heat up, only about 5 minutes compared to 10 for the springform pan. Better heat conductor in the cast iron.
Once the butter and brown sugar were melted and bubbly I poured in the batter and noticed that the butter seemed to go up the sides of the pan, more than the springform which ended up giving the sides a little caramelization, however, the bottom (top?) once turned out was not as dark as before.
Makes sense, the butter did not run out of the pan.
There was still a nice caramelization, however, the diced peach did not stay on the surface as I had hoped but disappeared into the batter. Still good.
And the torte still stuck partially to the pan. There are two reasons that could happen and I think the first, and the main reason is, I was not patient and did not allow the torte to cool enough before trying to invert it. The other reason would be, I didn't put enough butter in the pan.
I'm going with reason #1.
Fresh Peach Almond Torte (the re-do)
Both presentations and cooking methods worked just fine. The cast-iron skillet had a more even browning and seemed a bit softer and moister than did the springform pan - which could be due to a more even cooking temperature, or to moister juicier peaches. I did, however, miss the deep, almost burnt caramelization that had resulted from the mistake of the leaking pan. However, most of my taste re-testers preferred the evenness of the caramelization of torte #2 - the way I thought it should be, so I'll go with that.
But the choice is truly up to you. As they say, have it your way.
Wine Recommendation: This Fresh Peach Almond Torte is perfect with a late harvest Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. Muskat is also a wonderful choice. Want bubbles? Go ahead and open a bottle of domestic or French champagne.
Fresh Peach Almond Torte
- For the Torte
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 tablespoon mild olive oil or other mild oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups peeled finely chopped ripe peaches
- 8 ounces by weight almond meal
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour regular or gluten-free
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For the upside-down top
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ cup diced peach not finely diced, just diced
- ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
- To Serve
- Whipped cream
- Additional chopped fresh peaches
- Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl cream the butter, oil, and sugar together until smooth and creamy- about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, along with the vanilla extract, blend until smooth. Add the peaches and blend on low speed until incorporated.
- Add the almond meal and mix in thoroughly. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, Pumpkin Spice and salt, add to the batter and mix until well-blended. Do not over blend.
- While making the batter, place your cake (torte) pan in the oven and heat. When hot, add the butter and brown sugar, mix well, then top with slivered almonds and reserved ½ cup of chopped peaches. Bake for 10 minutes or until the sugar is melted and just beginning to brown. Pour the batter evenly over the top and return to the oven. Cook, 35 - 40 minutes, or a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then, if you are lucky, invert onto a plate. Cool to room temperature. Serve.