It’s been a minute since our last post . . . In the interim, James has moved on from The Kite Runner (which closed on October 30, 2022), going straight into rehearsals for his current show, The Collaboration. Starring Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope, with Erik Jensen and Krysta Rodriguez, it’s about the real-life artistic collaboration of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. May I strongly suggest that you run out and get your tickets for this magnificent show? It must close on February 11, 2023 and is an absolute treat!
Speaking of treats . . . James made the following Torta Caprese for a recent Wine and Unwind. It’s a gluten-free recipe he learned from Chef Lorena when he sojourned in San Gemigni, Italy a few years ago. (Check out her restaurant Facebook page here: Il Giardino-Vino e Cucina). I was lucky enough to be in attendance for some of her cooking classes, where we also learned how to make gnocchi and other Italian treats. (Watch this space for another Chef Lorena special recipe soon!)
With just a few ingredients, make sure you get the best quality chocolate and butter to lift this torta into the stratosphere of deliciousity.
Torta Caprese (Chocolate and Almond Flourless Cake)
125grams (4.4 oz) blanched almonds (or almond meal)*
125grams (4.4 oz) good quality dark chocolate (I use 70% cocoa)
125grams (4.4 oz or 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, chopped
125grams (4.4 oz or 1/2 cup) sugar
3 large eggs, separated and left to come to room temperature
Powdered sugar for dusting
Optional additions: Zest of one orange, 1 TBSP rum, 1 tsp almond essence
* If using whole blanched almonds, blitz them to a very fine, sandy texture in a food processor.
Grease and line a 20 cm or 8 inch round cake tin with baking paper (I like to use a springform tin or one with a removable base for this delicate cake) and preheat oven to 160ºC or 320ºF.
Place the chocolate, broken up, in a metal or glass bowl set over a bain marie (aka a double broiler, or a pot of simmering water). When melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add the butter, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to help it melt.
Add the sugar and the almond meal. Once the mixture is no longer hot, add the egg yolks and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. If adding any further ingredients (orange zest, rum, etc), stir them in now.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with beaters to soft, fluffy peaks. Fold the whites gently through the chocolate and almond batter.
Pour the batter into the cake tin, smooth over the top and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the top appears dry and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (not wet batter).
It is important not to overcook this cake so that it retains its wonderful moist consistency.
Let cool completely in the tin before handling. Dust with powdered sugar and, if desired, some lightly whipped cream. This cake keeps well for several days and is even better the next day.