Adapted from Italian Holiday Cooking by Michele Scicolone

1 1/2 cups whole almonds
2/3 cup sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/4 tsp. salt
powdered sugar

Roast almonds in 325 degree oven for 10-20 minutes, checking for doneness after 10 minutes.  Cool, then place in food processor along with  1/3 cup sugar, process until very finely chopped, and set aside.

Break chocolate into pieces and place in food processor with chopping blade.  Process until chocolate is finely chopped.

Separate eggs, putting whites in medium bowl and yolks in large bowl. Set whites aside.  Add vanilla and remaining 1/3 cup sugar to yolks, mixing until smooth.  Stir in nuts, chocolate, and salt.

Beat whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Add a small portion of the whites to the yolk-nut mixture, mixing to lighten the batter.  Then gently fold in the remaining whites, taking care to blend well without beating or deflating the whites.

Spoon the batter into a greased, floured 9" springform pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until the cake is puffy and browned.

Let sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then loosen from sides of pan with a knife, release sides, and allow cake to cool completely.  When cool, dust with powdered sugar... a nice touch is placing a paper doily on top of the cake, then sifting the powdered sugar over the doily, leaving a design on the top of the cake.

Makes 8-10 servings of fudgy, brownie-like torte, which goes well with fruit sorbet (my favorites are mandarin orange and raspberry) or vanilla ice cream.



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