Tracy Obolsky of New York's North End Grill learned this recipe from her grandmother—but being a pastry chef, she made a tweak or two to the original (hello, salt). Cake batter is baked with meringue for a contrast in texture, then it all gets slathered with whipped cream. The cake is served with sweet, caramelized roasted peaches. One bite and you may add this dessert to your family's repertoire, too.
To learn more, read "Pavlova Actually."
Walnut Torte with Roasted Peaches
Recipe adapted from Tracy Obolsky, North End Grill, New York, NY
Yield: One 9-inch cake
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
For the Nut Torte:
2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
8 egg yolks
1½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1½ cups chopped walnuts
For the Roasted Peaches:
4 peaches—halved, pitted and each cut into 6 wedges
⅓ cup granulated sugar
For the Whipped Cream:
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
Pinch of kosher salt
1. Make the nut torte: Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, cream the butter and ½ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions.
2. Add the flour, salt and baking powder, and mix on low. Gradually stream in the buttermilk and vanilla extract while the stand mixer is mixing on low speed. Divide the cake batter between the two prepared cake pans and set aside.
3. Wipe the stand mixer clean and fit it with the whisk attachment. Add the egg whites and beat on medium-high speed until frothy, then slowly add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until the meringue holds medium-stiff peaks.
4. Spread the meringue on top of the cake batter in the cake pans. (Note: The meringue layer will be thin.) Sprinkle the top of the meringue with the walnuts and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cakes. The meringue should be crispy. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool. Leave the oven on.
5. While the cakes are cooling, make the roasted peaches: On the prepared baking sheet, toss the peaches with the sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the peaches begin to caramelize.
6. Make the whipped cream: In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients until the mixture holds medium peaks. Chill the whipped cream until ready to assemble the cake.
7. Carefully unmold the cakes. Spread the whipped cream on top of one of the cakes with the meringue side up. Top with the remaining cake. Serve with the roasted peaches.