Amaretto Chocolate and Almond Torta




Years ago I entered a national professional chef recipe contest sponsored by Amaretto di Saronno liqueur. I was selected as one of six chefs to compete in Chicago. I had competed many times before in contests however I believe this was the most difficult and most rewarding. I had to create a three course Italian meal for twelve people using the liqueur. This recipe was my dessert recipe. When in Chicago I met the other five finalist and made good friends over dinner the night before. On the day of the competition we had four hours to prepare platters of each course of eight servings and plate four other servings that were presented to the judges. I very proudly placed third, right behind two Master Chefs! One of the judges slipped into the kitchen for more samples of my food while I was cleaning up. He told me that if I had been a male Master Chef, I would have won. That is how it was in those days, but, as always I took it as a compliment in disguise.


As is, this has no all-purpose white flour which is utilized by the body like sugar. It has little added sugar (approximately one tablespoon per serving). It is made with almond meal and the sauce is based on Black Friar plums. The Amaretto cookies are made from dried egg whites, sugar and apricot kernels and may also contain trace amounts of almond, chestnut, coconut, hazelnut, walnut and pistachios. I find them at Trader Joe's but can be found on line also. Sliced strawberries and mascarpone could be used in place of the Amaretto Plum sauce to decrease the amount of sugar in the total recipe and still taste fabulous.

12 servings



oil spray
½ pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks of butter)
¾ cup granulated cane sugar
pinch of kosher salt
¾ cup ground Amaretto cookies (4 ounces)
6 large eggs
1 ¾ cups ground almonds (almond meal)
¼ cup Amaretto di Saronno liqueur
½ teaspoon cinnamon


1.     Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Line the bottom of a nine inch cake pan with parchment paper. Spray the inside of the pan with the oil.

2.     Melt the chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl over simmering water. Water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.

3.     Add the sugar, salt, ground cookies and mix well.

4.     Remove from the water bath and fold in the eggs.

5.     Add the ground almonds, liqueur and cinnamon.

6.     Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap to distribute the batter. Bake for forty to fifty-five minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

7.     Cool in the pan on a baking rack for five minutes.

8.     Place a serving platter on top of the pan and invert by turning them both over. Remove the pan and the parchment plater.

9.     Cut into twelve pieces and serve with the Amaretto Plum Sauce.

Amaretto Plum Sauce

12 servings


2 large or 4 small Black Friar plums chopped (8 ounces)
¾ cup red currant jelly
3 tablespoons granulated cane sugar
3 tablespoons Amaretto di Saronno liqueur
½ teaspoon arrowroot


1.     Place the plums in a 2 quart stainless steel pan and just barely cover with filtered water over medium-high heat. Simmer until the water is just evaporated and the plumbs are soft.

2.     Puree the plums in a food processor. Add the jelly, sugar, liqueur and arrowroot. Process for an additional minute, just to blend.

3.     Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve back into the stainless steel sauce pan. Bring the sauce to a boil. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate.

May be made three or more days before using.

Or substitute with Strawberries and Mascarpone

1 pint organic strawberries, stemmed, washed, sliced

¾ cup mascarpone