Friday, March 27, 2009

Cooking with Bubbe Winston, Part Deux: Flourless Almond-Pear Torte

As promised, here is the grand finale to Winston's wonderful Passover feast: the flourless but no less delicious almond-pear torte. Believe me, you'd never know the flour was missing!

Almond-Pear Torte
Makes one 9-inch torte. No flour or leavening so good for Pesach; at other times you could replace some of the almond meal with whole-wheat flour.

olive oil
1 pear
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup and 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1 cups almond meal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange or other liqueur
dash of salt

Set oven to 325’ and lightly oil a 9” cake pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan and fit to the pan and lightly oil and sprinkle teaspoon of sugar across bottom of pan.

Core and quarter pear and quarter those pieces and fan pieces in a circle in the pan.

Beat the egg whites and dash of salt just until they form soft peaks; beat whites first because you need a completely clean bowl, and transfer to another bowl.

Then beat egg yolks and sugar for 1½ minutes. Add almond meal, vanilla, and liqueur and mix briefly until combined.

Take bowl off mixer and use spatula to mix in 1/3 of whites into the batter to lighten it and then add remaining whites and gently mix until completely integrated, and pour over pear slices in pan and gently even out with spatula.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Place dish over pan, invert, and peel back parchment slowly to reveal pear pattern. Serve warm or reheat slightly before serving later.


  1. Do you think this could be made with artificial sweeteners at all?

  2. hi, heather! first, absolutely no judgement here: i know people want or need to use artificial sweeteners for all number of reasons; but i don't use them (you'll see i try to use the least-processed ingredients in my recipes and like my dear friend dena, go organic wherever possible), so i don't have specific or general emperical knowledge to share. but manufacturers must provide baking instructions for use or replacement. maybe part of this may be useful: even before your question i was thinking some portion of the 1/2 cup of sugar could be honey or agave syrup (which you may want to look into because it's extremely low on the glycemic scale), and/or brown sugar, and work very nicely.

  3. Hi Heather (and THANKS, Winston!) --

    I do think you could try using artificial sweeteners, if that's the route you wanted to go.

    My suggestion would be to try using Splenda, as it tastes more like sugar than Nutrasweet. *And* I know they sell Splenda in large quantities, to be used for baking -- and on those packages they tell you the sugar equivalent. I think actually they formulate that type of Splenda so it can be used 1:1 for sugar, which makes it easy.

    I like to substitute agave for sugar in a lot of recipes, because its taste works perfectly, and it works really well. I use agave 1:1 for sugar as well.

    I can also imagine honey giving this torte a lovely flavor which I might try sometime, just for the delicious honey-ness of it!

    Hope this helps, and if you make it with an artificial sweetener, please let me know -- I'd love to post pics or your thoughts and suggestions!

  4. Dena - so glad you are back to posting. this recipe looks fabulous!

  5. Thanks for the help! I do use splenda a lot already.


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