The Daring Bakers’ January 2015 Challenge: Esterhazy Torte

Esterhazy Torte |

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?

Before this challenge, I had never heard of the Esterhazy Torte.  It is apparently a dessert that was invented in the 19th century by a confectioner from Budapest.  The Esterhazy Torte was named after Prince Paul III Anton Esterhazy de Galantha, a member of the Esterhazy dynasty and diplomat of the Austrian Empire. The torte is formed made from five layers of hazelnut meringue filled with hazelnut cream and decorated with chocolate spiderweb decorated icing.  It’s a hazelnut lover’s dream!

I almost didn’t have time for this month’s challenge, but I’m glad I managed to get it done just under the wire!  It was a ton of work, though none of the steps were actually difficult, and the end result was absolutely delicious!  That being said, I think I would buy one next time…

The process starts with a dozen eggs, separated.  The whites are whipped into a glossy meringue which is flavored with toasted hazelnuts and baked in 5 separate circles to form the layers.

daquoise_unbaked daquoise

The egg yolks are used to make a luscious cooked hazelnut cream which holds together the five layers of meringue to form the torte.

Esterhazy Torte |

The top layer of the torte is spread with apricot jam and then a powdered sugar glaze and decorated with a chocolate web design.  More roasted and chopped hazelnuts are pressed around the side of the cake for decoration.  Despite a burst piping bag mid decoration, the cake turned out fairly pretty!  The hardest part was then waiting 24 hours before eating it, and I confess we didn’t make it that long.  It was still good after 8 hours though but it really was even better the next day.


The recipe and step-by-step photos of the process of making this torte can be found on the Daring Bakers’ website.



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Sourdough Cha Siu Bao

Sourdough Cha Siu Bao |

I’m sorry to say that the original version of this post disappeared recently in a server crash with my hosting service!  I’m not going to try to re-create the post at this point, but will give a quick summary of the challenge and my sources.

When Sourdough Surprises announced that we would be making steamed buns this month with our starter, I was thrilled!  I recently made Cha Siu Bao for a Dim Sum dinner with my supper club and had lots of leftover barbecued pork in the freezer to use up.  To make the Sourdough Cha Siu Bau, I modified a recipe from Fine Cooking.  They came out pretty well, though possibly not as light as if I had used a bamboo steamer instead of my metal saucepan insert.  Still delicious though!  To make the buns, I used 4 oz of sourdough starter discard and subtracted 2 oz of liquid and 2 oz of flour from the original recipe.  Since I had made this recipe before, it was nice to be able to compare the two versions.  I actually found that the one with my starter in it was more pliable and easier to shape around the filling.   There was no discernible sourdough tang to the buns, which was ok with me in this recipe.


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