Make a Poppy Seed Dessert: Poppy Seed Torte with Vanilla Custard Filling

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Makes one 8-inch cake
This light, poppy seed torte contrasts delectabley with the taste of the nutty, vanilla custard filling.

Vanilla Custard Filling

1/2 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Stir together the sugar and cornstarch. In a saucepan, combine the milk and egg yolks.

2. Whisk in the sugar mixture and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn off heat, stir in the butter, cool slightly, then stir in the vanilla and nuts.

Poppy Seed Torte

1/3 cup poppy seeds
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup butter or margarine
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
• 2 cups sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 4 egg whites
• Custard Filling (above)
• 4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1. Soak the seeds in the milk for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with thirds of the milk and poppy seeds, mixing well after each addition. Beat the egg whites to peaks that are stiff but not dry. Stir 1/2 cup of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remainder.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto racks and allow to cool ­completely.

4. Slice each cake in two horizontally and spread custard filling on three of the layers. Stack up the custard-covered layers and place the remaining layer on top. Chill. Just before serving, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar.

Note: At high altitudes, reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoons and the baking powder by 1 teaspoon and add 2 more tablespoons flour.

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