TARTA DE ALMENDRAS (Spanish orange scented almond torte, for eight)
½ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup coarsely chopped blanched almonds
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
sliced orange segments or rounds for garnish (optional)
pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
honey for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease a 9 inch springform pan, dust it with flour and shake out the excess.
2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a food processor, combine the almonds and ¼ cup of the sugar and process until finely ground.
3. In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium high speed, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the remaining ¾ cup sugar, raise the speed to high, and beat until thick and pale yellow, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the olive oil, orange zest and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour and almond mixtures until well blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake the torte until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the torte sides, then remove the pan sides. Let cool completely.
5. Decorate the whole torte or individual slices with orange segments or slices and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with honey if desired.
from Paul Richardson, Rustic Spanish (Williams Sonoma)