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Clementine Torte Recipe & Video

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Around the turn of the 20th century a French Priest living in Algeria, named Pere Clement, crossed a bitter orange (Seville) with a Mandarin. The result was a sweet yet tangy, slightly flattened, easy-to-peel orange which became known as the Clementine. Clementines are often called the Christmas orange, as their  harvest time corresponds with the holiday season. They are an excellent eating orange but you may want to put a few aside to make this delicious Middle Eastern Clementine Torte which uses whole cooked Clementines, peel and all. 


This Clementine Torte recipe is adapted from Stephanie Alexander's excellent 'The Cook's Companion' where she tells us that in Australia this cake is very popular. It's a wonderfully dense and moist cake, with a slightly tart flavor because the batter contains whole oranges, peel and all. The Clementines are simmered in water for a few hours until they become nice and soft which helps to reduce the tartness of the peel. This cake is gluten free as it doesn't contain wheat flour, instead finely ground almonds (almond flour/meal) are used. What is also surprising is that it doesn't contain any butter or oil. It is simply a mixture of whole oranges, eggs, sugar, and ground almonds. Easily made in a food processor, it stores very well. In fact, it is better to bake this cake a day or two in advance of serving so its' flavors have time to soften and blend. Excellent with whipped cream.

As I mentioned above, this torte contains ground almonds. You can either buy almond meal/flour or else you can make your own by placing whole or sliced almonds in your food processor and processing them until finely ground. Almond meal/flour can be found at some grocery stores, specialty food stores/markets, or else at health food stores. You can also order it on line.
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Clementine Torte: Place the Clementines in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer the Clementines for about two hours or until very soft. Then remove the Clementines from the water, place in a strainer, and let the oranges cool completely. (This step can be done a day ahead. Once the oranges have cooled completely, cover, and place in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter and line the bottom of a 9 inch (23 cm) springform pan with parchment paper. 
Once the Clementines have completely cooled, cut them into large chunks, remove any seeds, and place the Clementines  (skins and all) in your food processor. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and process until you have a smooth mixture. Then, in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, salt and ground almonds. Add the orange mixture to the almond mixture and whisk or stir to combine. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 45 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If you find the cake over browning, cover the cake with a piece of lightly buttered aluminum foil. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before removing the sides of the springform pan.
This cake is best after it has been allowed to sit overnight. Serve with whipped cream.
Makes about 8 - 10 servings.
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Clementine Torte:

1 pound (450 grams) Clementines (4 to 6 depending on size)

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups (250 grams) almond flour (meal) or finely ground almonds

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