I had an Italian-themed group dinner to go to on Sunday. It gave me the perfect excuse to bake the Apricot Crostata that I'd tried out for the first time earlier in the week. As you can see, the response it received was pretty much the same as it had been when I'd made it for the folks at the office. I think I was a bit surprised at the reaction to it, but maybe it was that it just looked so different from typical potluck desserts that everyone wanted to grab a slice. I'm definitely filing this one away in my "keeper" file.
The other dessert I brought was a recipe that I don't think I've made in at least ten years: Torta al Cioccolato.* It was a standby Italian dish that I used to bake when I had dinner parties. I'm not sure why I stopped preparing it except that I don't really have people over to eat dinner anymore. I just haven't had the time, energy or money to throw something together the way I used to do. Having a small apartment doesn't help either. This gathering was a great excuse to test drive it again.
Judging from the plate below, it looks like it was pretty well received. The thing that I like the best about this dessert is that it has a dense chocolate flavor without being overly rich. It isn't a completely flourless cake, but the small amount of flour is supplemented with ground walnuts. It is perfect with an end-of-dinner espresso. Although I served it without anything on the side, berries and whipped cream, a small scoop of gelato, or a dollop of mascarpone would be a wonderful accompaniment. I think that this cake might just need to make it back into the dessert rotation.
*This recipe appeared in the May 1995 issue of Bon Appetit. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find it on line in their archives so I was unable to link to it.