Thursday, March 19, 2009

Streusel Lemon Torte

Streusel Lemon Torte
by Carole Walter

1 Classic Genoise Cake (see other post) baked in a 10-cup savarin or fluted ring mold

Ingredients for Lemon Cream Filling:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup orange juice
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp soft unsalted butter
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier
1/2 cup heavy cream

Ingredients for The Cookie Streusel:
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsifted flour
3 Tbsp finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 recipe Sugar Syrup made with Grand Marnier (see below)
1 pint large unhulled strawberries, rinsed and well dried

1. To make the filling: Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small heavy saucepan. Whisk in the water and orange juice, blending until the dry ingredients are completely dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Simmer for a few moments. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
2. Put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk lightly. Stir a small amoutn of the hot sugar/cornstarch mixture into the yolks to temper them. Then whisk the yolk mixture back into the sugar/cornstarch mixture, blending well. Cook over low heat, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon, until filling comes to a full boil and is smooth and thick.
3. Remove from the heat and blend in the grated lemon rind, lemon juice, and butter. Transfer into a medium-sized bowl. Press a piece of buttered wax paper directly onto the surface of the filling. Chill until quite cold, about 1 hour.
4. When the filling is chilled, stir in the Grand Marnier. In a medium-sized bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold in 1/2 of the cream, reserving the rest in the refrigerator for the lemon sauce.
5. Chill the filling again for at least 1/2 hour while you make the cookie streusel.
6. To make the cookie streusel: Preheat the oven to 350 degreees. Add the sugar, flour, and nuts to the melted butter. Stir with a kitchen fork until small crumbs form. Take a handful of crumbs and make a fist to form a large clump. Then break each clump into coarse crumbs. Repeat, making several clusters and breaking them until a nice streusel is formed.
7. Place the streusel crumbs in a 9-inch layer pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and hardened. Toss with a fork occasionally for even toasting. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To Assemble the Cake:
1. Slice the cake into 3 even layers. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate. Line the edge of the plate with strips of waxed paper. Brush the layer with warm sugar syrup and spread with the lemon cream to about 1/8-inch thickness. Repeat with the middle layer, moistening it with sugar syrup and covering it with additional filling to the same thickness.
2. Brush the cut side of the top layer with sugar syrup and arrange it on top of the cake, cut side down. Align the layers. Using a small spatula, spread the sides and top with a 1/8-inch coating of lemon cream. Reserve leftover filling for the sauce. Place the cake in the refrigerator and chill 1/2 hour.
3. Break up large pieces of streusel and sprinkle the crumbs thickly over the sides and top of the cake, pressing them gently into the lemon cream. Using a sugar shaker, dust the entire cake generously with confectioners' sugar. Carefully remove the waxed paper strips and chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 4 hours to set.
4. To make a lemon sauce for garnish, fold remaining whipped cream into the leftover lemon cream filling. If desired, flavor with an additional tablespoon of Grand Marnier. Chill until ready to serve.

To Serve: Remove the cake from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before serving. Fill teh center with bright red unhulled strawberries. Or place a spoonful of lemon cream sauce at the side of each slice of the torte and nestle 2 or 3 strawberries into the cream.

Storage: Store in the refrigerator, lightly covered with a foil tent, for up to 3 days.

Sugar Syrup:
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp dark rum or orange-flavored liqueur

Place the water and sugar in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a slow boil and simmer 5 minutes. Off the heat, add the liqueur. Allow to cool slightly before applying to the cake. This may be made in advance. Rewarm before using.

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