TORTA DI CIOCCOLATA ALLE MANDORLE (from Lombardia, chocolate amaretti cake, for ten to twelve)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate such as Perugina or Callebaut, broken up
1 cup almonds
1 cup crumbled amaretti (about 16)
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1.Preheat oven to 350*. Butter a 9 inch round cake pan with 2 inch sides. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment (baking) or wax paper. Butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
2. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over (not touching) simmering water in a saucepan. Heat until softened, then remove the bowl from over the water and stir the chocolate until smooth.
3. In a food processor, process the almonds and cookie crumbs until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl. Process the butter and sugar until smooth. With the motor running, add the eggs, one at a time, and blend well, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the nut mixture and the chocolate. Pulse to blend. Pour batter into the pan.
4. Bake until the center is slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate. Lift off the pan, then peel off the paper. Let cool completely.
5. Just before serving, place cocoa powder in a small sieve and dust the top of the cake. Serve plain or with ripe berries and whipped cream.
NOTE: The cake will keep for several days in the refrigerator, or it can be wrapped tightly and frozen for a month.
adapted from Michele Sciccolone, Savoring Italy (Williams Sonoma)