Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Feeling Out of Tortes?

Before launching into this week's baking, I started off the week by baking a few special items for a special event at Local Roots.

When I found out that Deborah Madison -- author of one of my favorite cookbooks, Local Flavors -- was coming to town to speak at the college's Wellness Series, I asked around and got people to agree to a members-only reception for her at Local Roots after the college's reception. I offered to bake my sesame crackers and rosemary walnuts to serve at the market, but I wanted to come up with something on the sweet side, too.

I ended up pulling out and dusting off the recipe I created for a Dark Chocolate Seduction Torte, something I haven't made for a couple of years.

On Monday I tackled the first four layers, including baking the spiced nuts. This time around, it occurred to me that I might not have as much difficulty in cutting pieces if (A) I didn't refrigerate it first, (B) I cut the torte into squares before adding the sauce, and (C) I used a paring knife.

Bingo on all counts!

Sure, the sauce was a little sloppy and pooled in the bottom of the cupcake liners, but overall this made the squares of torte easier to handle -- and easier to dazzle.

I dropped everything at the market ahead of time and then headed up to campus to listen to Deborah's talk -- which covered the impact of food on culture from the early immigrants to America to our current locavore movement. Several times I wanted to shout out "yes!" to what she had to say (don't worry, I restrained myself).

After the talk, I rushed back down to the market building to help lay out the reception table. A few people raised an eyebrow or laughed when they read the name of my dessert, but once they tasted it, they decided I had not exaggerated.

We gave Deborah a thorough tour of the market once she arrived, and we all had the chance to talk with her (second from left). She wasn't able to enjoy the spread as she realized after the talk that her stomach felt unsettled, but she expressed her delight with what we had done and even bought a few things from our producers! We gave her a Local Roots t-shirt before she headed out, and she promised to wear it to her yoga class.

The rest of us lingered a while longer to enjoy more of the goodies (including raspberry ribbon bars, maple pumpkin bars, mushroom pate, spelt crackers, and artisan cheeses) and our own conversations, but all agreed it had been a fine party, even if it had been sparsely attended.

I still have some torte squares left over, so I will likely save those for the pastry case on Saturday. I feel better knowing that the excess of what I made (what hadn't been set out) will earn me a little extra money for no more work on market day.

And hopefully this torte will make someone else feel better, too!

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At 2/03/2010 12:52 PM, Blogger Phoenix said...

I remember that torte! *mmmmmmmmm*

It's very exciting that Deborah Madison came to campus, and even more so that Local Roots got to throw a little shindig for her.

At 2/04/2010 12:44 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I thought you might... ;-)


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