Esterhazy Torte is a rich Hungarian dessert which is reputed to have been made by a baker in Budapest in the 19th century. He named it in honour of Prince Paul III Anton Esterhazy de Galantha, a member of the Esterhazy dynasty and diplomat of the Austrian Empire.
Blog-checking lines: : For the month of January Jelena from A Kingdom for a Cake invited us to start this year with a dreamy celebration cake. She challenged us to make the Esterhazy cake a.k.a the Hungarian dream. What better way to start the year than with a sweet dream?
The word “torte”has its origin in Italian word “torta,” which means a round bread or cake. Most Europeans refer to cakes as tortes. Tortes generally are denser than cakes since they are often made using ground nut meal or breadcrumbs.
The Esterhazy torte is traditionally made of five layers. These dacquoise layers are made with egg whites, sugar and roasted hazelnut powder.
The main flavor in the cake comes from the hazelnuts. In some parts of Europe, almond or walnut meal is used instead of hazelnuts. Regardless of the nut that you are using, make sure to toast them before using as the nutty flavor really comes through once they are roasted.
If you are allergic to nuts, omit them altogether, but then it would not be Esterhazy torte.
When grinding nuts be very careful because a little over and they will turn buttery. We are aiming for flour not butter!! I like to mix the flour or sugar with the nuts while grinding as this helps prevent you from tipping the scale. But that is only possible when the recipe calls for adding the two together.
In this case the dacquoise layer needed the all-purpose and and nut flours to be added to the whipped egg whites, so I ground them together. For the filling this was not possible, so I preferred to err on the side of coarsely ground as I thought the texture would be quite good even that way. I was not wrong.
These layers are sandwiched together with a rich hazelnut buttercream filling.
The crowning glory is the Esterhazy web or the spider web decoration on top which is the distinguishing feature of this torte.
The recipe may appear daunting but it is quite simple once you start. Make the torte in stages. Make the layers and assemble the torte on day one and decorate the next day.
This torte tastes better as time goes by. Leave it to rest for at least 24 hours before tasting.
I have scaled down the recipe by a third to make a 6″ (15cm) round torte. If you want to make the 10″ (25cm) torte follow the original recipe from here.
It’s strange and ironic that the one thing that I hated as a kid -Maths- is what helps me in my baking. I was very proud that I calculated how much batter I would need for five 6″ diameter layers and the amount was perfect.
I had a bit of a problem with the hazelnut filling. The custard is made with just egg yolks and sugar- no milk or cream. I was confused about how thick to cook. I cooked for about 12 minutes and the mixture turned very hard. Whipping it up was quite a task. But once I added the butter it was better. Next time I will cook for a shorter while till it has thickened but not hardened. Maybe 8-10 minutes. That is the time I am giving in the recipe.
Since this was the first time I was making the spider web decoration I was a bit nervous. I ended up adding a tad more water to the icing sugar so it was a bit runny. We want creamy not runny. So be careful otherwise like me you will have the icing dripping along the sides.
The spider web pattern is made by making perpendicular lines at an angle of 30 degrees with a toothpick or the blunt edge of a knife. Each line should begin in the opposite direction. One running towards you and the other away from you. Watch this video to see how it is done.