Finally found a bit of time to bake, and made this delicious Old World torte. The cake is actually the bittersweet cocoa-almond genoise, except that I subbed ground toasted hazelnuts for the cocoa and instead of including water in the batter, syruped the cake with the leftover caramel/pear juice from cooking the pears. I also backed out a little of the butter to account for the higher fat content of the hazelnuts versus the cocoa. For an experiment it worked out pretty well! The flavor was amazing- toasted almonds, toasted hazelnuts, plenty of butter, a vanilla bean (I scraped the seeds into the butter/sugar mixture before whipping) and a touch of almond extract. My only gripe was that my nut flour wasn’t as fine as I like, so the texture was a bit nubbier than what I consider to be ideal for this cake. If I make it again (very good chance that I will!), I may try a 10” pan in order to have the cake in a thinner layer and more pears
For the pears, I sliced four large pears into eighths. Made caramel in the microwave with about 2/3 cup sugar, then stirred in a couple of tablespoons of butter and poured it out into a thin layer on the bottom of my largest saute pan. Put the pears on top of the caramel and cooked over low heat for 15 minutes, turned the pears over and cooked until they were almost done (but not yet totally tranluscent). Cooled the pears and let them soak for a while in the caramel-pear juice syrup, added a small squeeze of lemon juice after tasting the syrup.
Used a tablespoon of the caramel-pear syrup to sweeten the whipped cream, it was all very yummy!