Friday, January 2, 2009

Austrian Walnut-Strawberry Torte

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

Its new year.. 2009 has officially unfolded itself. Like all true foodies, I begin this new year with 'sweet somethings'.
Thats the tradition in almost all Indian families..we call it "muh meetha karana". Loosely translated it means, 'sweetening the mouth'. Whenever there is a fresh start we celebrate it with I did when I started my blog. So in keeping with the tradition I made an Austrian torte.

A torte is a cake made with many eggs and usually ground nuts or even bread crumbs instead of or in addition to flour.Tortes are Central European in origin. The word torte is derived from the German word "torte", which was derived from the Italian word "torta", which was used to describe a round cake or bread.

I remember when I was a school going kid, my mum used to say that whatever I do on the first of January, I would keep doing that the entire year, so I studied well my favourite subject for sure, apart from having fun that is. I ofcourse was made to believe that then, but now it has stuck with me all these years. I still conciously try to do something nice , share smiles and have fun.
Hence, the torte comes as no surprise, given that I have never tried baking one ever. So something sweet and something different. (A good omen-probably I would be trying new and nice things this whole year!)

Austrian Walnut-Strawberry Torte

For torte layers-
6 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups walnuts
1 cup fresh fine breadcrumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons your favourite brandy,(I used rum)
1/2 cup cocoa powder

For strawberry whipped cream-
1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
1 teaspoon strawberry essence
a pinch/dab of red food colouring
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

a few strawberries, chopped- for layering

For icing- (optional)
1 1/2 slab of dark chocolate (70% cocoa), it should give you half cup liquid chocolate when melted
1 tbsp softened butter
1 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp confectioners' sugar


In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of granulated sugar until the mixture is doubled in volume and forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted (about 5 minutes).

In a food processor or blender, pulse the walnuts with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until ground fine.
(Although coarsely ground worked fine for me. Only it becomes a little difficult when it comes to slicing the cake, but I prefer the 'surprise' walnut chunks in my mouth!)

Add the walnuts, the bread crumbs , cocoa powder and the rum to the yolks and fold gently.

In another bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg white just to stiff peaks.

Gently and gradually fold the whites into the yolk mixture.

Pour the batter in a greased 9" tin/mould and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350°F oven, until the sides pull away from the pans and the tops spring back when pressed gently.
Cool on rack.

When cooled, slice the cake carefully in two halves to get two layers.
(Don't worry if the torte is a little crumbly, it is supposed to be that way.)

In a large, chilled bowl, stir together the cold heavy cream and the strawberry essence, food colouring and sugar. Beat until cream forms stiff peaks.

In a double boiler, melt the sugar, milk, butter and chocolate, till smooth and glossy.

NOW, place one half of the torte on your serving plate. Layer with the whipped cream.
Add the chopped strawberries next. Place the second layer of torte on top.
Pour the icing on top of the layered torte. Garnish with fresh sliced strawberry and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Feast all your five senses!! ;p

Heres' a little "interesting" something I read just recently while helping my sister on her school project work......

Before Luther there was no need for sugar in Europe, because there was an overproduction of honey. This traditional sweetener was a by-product of the apiaries, the main function of which was the production of wax for candles. This product was a monopoly of the Catholic monasteries and convents. Wherever these were closed or abolished, there emerged a market for something that, up to that time, had been a scarce luxury (that came originally from India): sugar. Coincidentally, the discovery and conquest of a New World in the tropics opened up the possibilities for the large scale production of sugar.It became the ideal component for the preservation of fruits.

Another by-product of the Protestant Reformation, due to the newly created scarcity of honey and widespread availability of sugar-cane, was obviously the large scale production of rum and other sugar-cane brandies like the Brazilian cachaça. Earlier brandies were mostly made of wine and, being quite expensive, were consumed only once in a while by aristocrats and the royalty.

This lovely dessert has often been the featured pastry at "Jause" --a lovely old German/Austrian custom of pausing in the afternoon for cake and coffee and conversation.

Cheers to 2009!
I send this over to Jugalbandi for Jai & Bee 's Click Jan '09- Red!

A REQUEST- Please vote for my 'Nut n Fruit Maalpua' here, if you liked it. Voting closes Jan 6th, 2009.


  1. that looks delicious. thank you, naveeta and happy new year.

  2. wow... looks yummy... happy new year to you too!

  3. hahaha, i would love to be called a moomin! not so much a hippo though...well brothers, anyways, i have 4 sisters, we have a lot worse names for each other let me tell you! hehehe. your Austrian tart looks fabulous, thanks for coming by my blog, i love to hear feedback on my writing.

    what a great tradition, sweetness as a beginning, hey maybe i'm actually indian! hehe. well i think i like to see beginnings everywhere maybe, i like everything to be desert :) hey hey wedding cake, a beginning with a sweet cake! who knew! learn something everyday :)

    happy new year!

  4. Looks so yummy. Happy New Year Dear!

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    How I would like to start off the new year with something sweet too...but I'm watching my diet.

    Happy New Year!

  6. This looks quite lovely...pleased to see someone using strawberries rather than the old standby, raspberries, in a chocolate torte. (I can't stand the seeds in my teeth!)

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog. What a lovely idea to do something on New Year's Day that represents what you want to do the rest of the year. I hope 2009 is full of sweet things and new adventures!

  8. Oh no, I just left a comment but for some reason it looks like it didn't work. I wanted to say thank you for your comment on my blog and I hope your year is full of sweet things and new adventures! Your blog is lovely.

  9. Your torte looks really good -- a good way to start off the new year with something sweet. :)

  10. Oh wow, this looks fantastic! Love the sound of this cake :)

  11. A torte is one of my favorite desserts!!! This looks great, and I have never had the opportunity to try an Austrian Strawberry Torte!

  12. wow Navita,thats definitely yummy.feel like having some..
    Thanks for coming to my place and that comment.I have seen your malpua.Though i have heard about the same before,i sincerely think,these both are uniquely tasted..The pictures make to go on into malpua..thanks and am adding your beautiful blog.

  13. Mahima,Vibaas,Pigpigscorner,Gloria,Lorraine,Girl Japan....thanks for ur warm wishes and appreciation. I am elated. :)

    Mallory, I too love receinving feedback on my makes it worth all the effort.

    Hopie both ur lovely comments came thru ;p

    NuKiwi, my DH is a big fan of u see. lol.

    Ann thanks for adding me to ur roll :)

  14. Wish you a very Happy New Year Navita! Looks like year has started well, with a rich delicious torte! :-)

  15. Navita, thank you so much for stopping by my blog. This is my first time on yours as well. I love this torte. I'm sure the taste is amazing. Have a wonderful New Year and may all your wishes for 2009 come true.

  16. Looks lovely. I agree with starting the new year with something sweet :) Happy new year!

  17. hey dear...i was a little wasnt online much....this torte looks lovely! as usual...whatever u make or bake....turns out wonderful! :-)

  18. Hi Navita, the Torte looks delicious! thanks for stopping by my blog. U have a nice space here.Will bookmark u:)
    Wish u a very happy new year too:)

  19. Oh my goodness Navita! This looks delicious and beautiful! Certainly a great way to start the year!

  20. Wish you a very happy new year, Navita!!

  21. That looks wonderful! The pictures are gorgeous!

  22. Your torte looks yummy, Happy New year to you too.

  23. Navita, had I not just vowed to eat healthier--at least for a while--I'd be in the kitchen now whipping this up. Now THIS is something I could love. Thanks for visiting The Food of Love. I will be stopping by often.

  24. each one of your opinion and makes me just soooo inexplicably joyous.

  25. Hi Navita,
    Thanks for dropping by my blog. This torte looks great!

    I like you mum's saying about the new year :-)


  26. This cake look amazing! Would never think of mixing walnuts and strawberries... sounds very interesting :)

  27. The torte looks awesome. Great way to start the new year with a bang up recipe.

  28. Beautiful!! Totally agree with starting the year with Sweet...:)

  29. Hi navita,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. You have a lovely one yourself, just went through it and have bookmarked some recipes i'd like to try. Wish you a happy new year!

  30. Hi Navita, thanks for stopping by my blog. Went through your blog, bookmarked some recipes I'd love to try. Wish you a happy new year!!

  31. Gorgeous! I liked the cake and the topping..
    hugs and smiles

  32. lovely torte:) very pretty and tempting!

  33. Hey Navita, the torte looks fantastic, definitely a lovely start to the new year :-)

  34. Delicious Chocolaty sweet start of the new year:)

  35. I have read some of your posts and would like to revisit, as I like your writings.

    If you like reading short stories and paintings, then a visit to my blogs would be an interesting one for you.

    Naval Langa

    Another Interesting Blog

  36. That looks delicious. Thanks for stopping by my blog and I'm really glad to have found yours.

  37. May I ask that you make me one of these and send it to me to save me the trouble of making it myself? ;D Yours turned out so great!

  38. Luscious torte...What a great way to start the New Year! Well done. :-)


Thank You for taking out the time to put your thoughts into words. It is appreciated. Hope I am able to keep you involved, intrigued and happy with this blog. Your views are welcome.