Author Notes: I just rediscovered this recipe, which I had written down when in the summer after graduating from high school, I helped out in the kitchen of the hip but long defunct restaurant Gala (named after the wife of Salvador Dali) in Caracas, Venezuela. I am marveling not only about how delicious yet easy the cake is, but also about the neat handwriting of an 18-year-old – this was long before the days of computers. In Spanish it’s called Torta de avellanas con melocotones, and it’s gluten-free. Thanks to advice from merrill and Syronai through Foodpickle I improved the cake by adding glaze to the peaches so they don’t turn brown so quickly. —Green Card Gardener
ounces whole hazelnuts with skins
2 teaspoons sugar
ounces dark chocolate (ideally 80%)
cup heavy cream
teaspoons vanilla extract
cups apricot preserves
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
- Chop the hazelnuts coarsely in the food processor using the pulse function. Set aside.
- Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks with 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over very low heat on the stove. Add it to the egg yolk mix in a slow steady stream and mix well.
- Fold in the chopped nuts, then fold in the egg whites. Pour the dough into the prepared pan and even it out with a spatula.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Loosen the sides and unmold upside down onto a cake rack and let cool slightly. Carefully remove the parchment. Let cool completely (up to this point you can make this cake a day or two ahead).
- Whip the cream until it stands in stiff peaks adding 2 teapoons sugar and vanilla extract. Place the cake with the flat side up on a cake plate. Evenly spread the whipped cream over the cake.
- If the peaches are very ripe you can remove the peel with a small pointy knife. Otherwise, make an "X" on the bottom of each peach and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the skin.
- Cut the peaches into thick even slices. Strain the apricot preserves and warm them over very low heat in a small saucepan. Dip each peach slice in the preserves, then arrange the slices on the cake. Refrigerate until serving.