PEACH ALMOND TORTE (for six)
1 cup blanched whole almonds
1 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons peach schnapps
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup egg whites (about 5 large egg whites), at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons apple jelly
1 tablespoon peach schnapps or peach brandy
vanilla or peach ice cream as an accompaniment if desired
1. Make the torte. In a food processor or blender grind fine the almonds with ¾ cup of the sugar, transfer the mixture to a bowl, and stir in the flour, butter, 2 tablespoons schnapps and the extract.
2. In another bowl, beat the whites with the salt until they barely hold soft peaks, add the remaining ¼ cup sugar gradually, and beat the whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Stir one third of the whites into the almond mixture and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
3. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 inch spring form pan and bake the torte in the middle of a preheated 375* oven for 40 minutes, or until it is golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Let the torte cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, remove the side of the pan, and invert the torte onto the rack. Remove the bottom of the pan from the torte and let the torte cool completely. (The torte may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and kept wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature.)
4. In a saucepan of boiling water blanch the peaches for 15 seconds, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a colander, and refresh them under cold water. Peel the peaches, halve and pit them, and cut three of the halves crosswise into thin slices, reserving the remaining half, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for another use. Arrange the peach slices decoratively on the torte.
5. In a small saucepan, combine the apple jelly and 1 tablespoon schnapps or brandy, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, and simmer the glaze, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Brush the glaze over the peaches and let it cool. (The torte may be topped and glazed 2 hours in advance and kept at room temperature.) Serve the torte with the ice cream.