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    Torta Caprese

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    Torta Caprese

    This is my top-of-the-list, guaranteed-to-please, easy chocolate-cake recipe. There's no flour but oodles of ground almonds give it a dense moistness, while the fine nubbles of chocolate ensure a big hit of cocoa flavour at every bite. It is not a stunning-looking cake, when it emerges from the oven, but a quick shake of icing sugar puts that right. Serve small wedges with coffee, or larger ones as a pudding, with a spoonful of crème fraîche. I like it with a few slices of orange or mango on the side to highlight the intensity of the chocolate, or raspberries, mixed with a little icing sugar and a shake of rose water and left to marinate for at least half an hour.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 50 minutes plus cooling
    • Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes plus cooling 60 minutes 10 minutes

    Serves: 10

    Ingredients

    • 200g dark chocolate
    • 4 medium eggs
    • 170g caster sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 250g ground almonds
    • 200g butter, melted and cooled until tepid
    • Icing sugar, to serve

    Method

    1. Line the base of a 24cm-diameter, round cake tin with non-stick baking parchment and grease the sides.
    2. Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3.
    3. Blitz the chocolate in a food processor until it is finely chopped, though still retaining a little texture.
    4. If you don't have a processor, chop the chocolate finely with a large knife.
    5. Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is pale, moussey and thick enough to hold a trail on its surface when you lift the beaters; this should take about 10 minutes. Fold in the chocolate, almonds and butter. Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out. Dust the surface with icing sugar before serving, in wedges, with a little fruit, and a spoonful of crème fraîche.
    6. Wine The almonds in this tart absorb some of the generosity of the wine that you drink with it. They can also cope with some added complexity. Try it with a decent sweet sherry.

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    Drinks recommendation

    The almonds in this tart absorb some of the generosity of the wine that you drink with it. They can also cope with some added complexity. Try it with a decent sweet sherry.

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