I only had the pleasure of knowing my mother-in-law for about six months before she passed, but during that time, I was able to learn a few things about her: her sons adored her, she was a helluva cook, and apparently, she had hands that could grab a hot dish directly from the oven.
After her death, Steffen inherited two of her beloved cookbooks. They weren’t the glistening manuals used by today’s wannabe chefs. Instead, the large flimsy binders are filled with newspaper articles that she painstakingly cut out or wrote on the back of napkins and random sheets of paper.
So when Steffen asked me to make his mom’s Cherry Streusel Torte for his birthday, I was a little intimidated. After all, this was a childhood favorite prepared by his first love. He cushioned his request by saying, “Just do your best.”
Cherry Streusel Torte
1/2 lb. butter
1 c. sugar
zest of one lemon
2 1/4 c. flour
1 packet of German baking soda (and yes, I went to Werner’s just to get this.)
pinch of salt
2 cans sour pitted cherries
1/4 c. sliced almonds
Combine butter, sugar, salt, zest, egg, flour and baking powder and mix into a streusel with an electric mixer and kneading hook, eventually using fingers to lightly crumble dough.
Grease bottom and sides of a large Springform pan. Press 1/3 of dough into bottom of pan. Press another 1/3 onto the sides of the pan to form a side crust.
Pour drained cherries into crust and spread evenly.
Crumble the remaining dough and place sliced almonds evenly over top of cherries.
Bake at 400 degrees on middle rack of oven for 25 minutes.