Tart for the Sweet
By Gretchen Giles
While most of us go ga-ga for chocolate this time of year, there are other ways to tickle the palate with pleasure. At Santi in Geyserville, chef and co-owner Franco Dunn suggests a purely Italian take on sweetening up the month of February, with his citrus almond torte. Simple to make and resulting in what Dunn assures is a "thoroughly adult" pleasure, this cake benefits from the thick-skinned fruit readily available on winter's shelves. Be sure to use best-quality ingredients and organic citrus.
Citrus Almond Torte
2 small oranges and one small lemon
6 ounces toasted whole almonds
1/2 t salt
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
2/3 c. olive oil
Simmer oranges and lemon in water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
Discard the lemon pulp and finely chop the lemon skin. Finely chop all of the oranges, the skin and the pulp.
Chop the almonds by pulsing in a food processor; be careful not too chop them too finely.
Beat eggs and salt together until foamy and gradually add the sugar.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently blend in the fruit, nuts and oil. Do not over mix.
Bake in a buttered 9- or 10-inch spring-form pan a 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. The cake is done when a wooden skewer can be cleanly removed from the center of the torte.
Let cool on a rack and remove from the pan. Serve with zabaglione or whipped cream.
Not surprisingly, Santi offers a prix-fixe Valentine¹s Day menu of thoroughly Italian descent. The five-course ³supper² ranges from the sea to the garden to the meadow, ending with a choice of Italian truffles, rose geranium-scented panna cotta or the first strawberries of winter both filled and dipped in chocolate.
Santi, 21047 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville. 707.857.1790.
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From the February 9-15, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.