Posted by: lisetta | February 20, 2011

La Vita è Dolce

Patrizia's torta caprese

It’s torta caprese weekend here in Philly. Friday night, after a terrible excuse for a dinner at Good Dog in Center City, Blaine and I stopped by L’Oca to say hello and were presented with a piece of Chef Luca’s freshly made torta caprese. This afternoon we had the pleasure of eating it again at Patrizia and Boyd’s place, where we went for brunch! Life is sweet.

I’ve already written about torta caprese, though. Way back in 2008. But this time around I’m a bit more curious about how it’s made. I mean, it’s basically a flourless chocolate cake made with almonds. How could you go wrong? It turns out that there are (at least) three techniques out there. Luca insists that the first is the most authentic. I wonder, though, what the actual effects are, if any, on the finished product?

Technique One: from one of my newest favorite websites: itchefs GVCI, a website for Italian chefs working worldwide. They’ve got an initiative called “La Vita è Dolce”, where Italian chefs from all over the word showcase their variations on typical Italian desserts. You can find the recipe and a video of the traditional torta caprese here. In this technique, you melt the butter and the chocolate, blend the egg yolks and the sugar, and then combine them with ground almonds. Once you have the base, you fold in beaten egg whites, spread it in the pan and bake. You can even add in some rum, vanilla or orange peel for extra flavor. Simple!

Technique Two: from Epicurious, my go-to source for recipes. This recipe calls for melted butter, but the chocolate is not melted. It’s pulverized, instead, in the food processor with the almonds. Hmm. As in the traditional Italian technique, you blend the sugar and egg yolks, but then add the melted butter with the almonds and chocolate before folding in the egg whites and baking.

Technique Three: from Marcello at La Sirena’s cooking video, which I found on YouTube. He pulverizes the chocolate with the almonds in the food processor as well, but mixes room temperature butter with sugar before adding the egg yolks. He, too folds in the egg whites right before baking.

So, I wonder: to melt or not to melt? To mix egg yolks and sugar, or butter and sugar? Does any of it even matter? Perhaps this is just another example of preferred technique. I can’t imagine any of the versions *not* being delicious. 🙂



  1. I’ve never had this, but now I think I must!

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