March 7, 2011
It is time for dessert…..you are in a fancy restaurant, trying to appear worldly to your dinner mate, and you are asked to choose from a lemon tart and a chocolate torte. Which do you order?
If you like pie, you order the tart, which is a small pastry shell, usually very low sided, baked in a spring form pan, and typically filled with a custard type filling topped with fruit, or a chewy nut filling and/or whipped cream. Fruit tarts are often glazed with jam, to make it shiny and really pretty. Lemon tart is common with a lemon curd style filling. All are single crust, low profile. Pies are taller, and typically have two crusts, in case you were wondering…..
Tarts can also be savory, as in a tomato and cheese tart….but this is a conversation about dessert today.
A torte is a cake made primarily with eggs, sugar, and ground nuts instead of flour, served in one layer, unfrosted, and can also be a savory dish (see above). Chocolate torte can be a very thin multilayer loaf shaped cake, still nut based, usually filled with very rich, decadent flavored. It is baked in a special pan – think very tall, thinner loaf pan- and sliced into many layers. Then each layer is filled with a cream, curd or jam type of filling. These cakes are not frosted, but may be dusted with powder sugar or cocoa. But you are saying – hey, what about a Linzer Torte? That yummy jammed filled cookie? How does that fit in? Well it is a nut based dough, cut into a shape and then filled….so a variation on the cake version of a nut based dough.
Confused yet? Well think back to high school logic – Tart is to Torte as Pie is to cake. Better? Heck whichever you choose, eat dessert first. Dinner is so much easier…..