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Torte Anniversary Birthday Cake

Torta Rustica

Ingredients & Directions

2 1/4 c Unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 ts Salt
1/4 c Margarine or butter; (1/2
Chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 c Vegetable shortening
6 tb Ice water; up to 7

2 tb Olive oil
1 c Chopped shallots or onion
2 lb Cremini mushrooms; coarsely
4 Cloves garlic; minced, up to
2 tb Chopped fresh thyme
3/4 ts Salt
1/2 ts Freshly ground black pepper
15 oz Low-fat ricotta cheese
30 oz Packaged frozen chopped
Thawed and squeezed dry
4 lg Egg whites
1/4 ts Grated nutmeg
1/4 ts Crushed red pepper flakes
12 oz Jarred roasted red and/or
-yellow bell
1 c Grated Parmesan or Asiago
-cheese; divided
1/4 c Fresh Italian bread crumbs;

This satisfying, rustic Italian pie was originally devised as a way to use
up leftovers. Here, a filling of wild mushrooms, spinach. ricotta cheese
and roasted red bell peppers transforms it into a stunning and delicious
main-course centerpiece.

Pastry: In large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in margarine and
shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles
coarse crumbs. Stir in just enough ice water so that mixture forms a ball
and holds together. Divide dough in half; wrap each half in plastic wrap
and chill while preparing filling ingredients.

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots or onion and
cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic
and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms release their liquid and it
evaporates, about 10 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from
heat and let cool to room temperature.

In medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, spinach, 3 egg whites, nutmeg and red
pepper flakes until blended. Pat roasted peppers dry with paper towels.

On lightly floured surface, roll about two-thirds of dough to a 12-inch
circle. Line bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan with removable bottom
with pastry. Beat remaining egg white; brush over crust. Sprinkle bread
crumbs over crust.

Stir 1/4 cup cheese into mushroom mixture and another 1/4 cup cheese into
ricotta mixture. Spoon mushroom mixture into pastry crust and pat into an
even layer. Spread ricotta cheese mixture evenly over mushrooms. Cut
roasted peppers into strips; arrange over ricotta cheese mixture. Sprinkle
remaining 1/2 cup Asia-go cheese evenly over peppers.

Roll out remaining dough to a 10-inch circle. Cut slits attractively in
dough; place over filling. Trim edges; fold top crust under forming a
ridge. Flute edge attractively. Re-roll any pastry scraps, cut into desired
shapes, brush with cold water and decorate top of pastry with them. Cover
torte with plastic wrap, then with foil and freeze up to 1 month.

To serve: Thaw torte completely in the refrigerator one day ahead. Preheat
oven to 375 degrees. Place torte on baking sheet. Bake until crust is
golden brown, about 50 minutes. Remove side of pan and bake 10 to 15
minutes more. Remove to wire rack and let cool 1 0 minutes. Transfer to
serving plate and cut into wedges.


10 servings

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