Here is a classic dessert that deserves its grand reputation. A buttery almond lattice crust reveals glistening raspberry preserves, and although it seems rather complicated to construct it really isn’t that difficult. You can serve it plain, but it is especially good served with whipped cream or rich vanilla ice cream, and for the perfect finale, follow it with a demitasse of piping hot espresso.

SERVES 8

Вѕ cup (1ВЅ sticks) butter, softened

Вѕ cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 egg yolks

1ВЅ cups unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

ВЅ teaspoon ground cloves

Вј teaspoon salt

1ВЅ cups (about 6ВЅ ounces) ground almonds

1Вј cups raspberry preserves

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 egg white

Lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)

  1. Cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl until smooth, then add the lemon zest and egg yolks, and mix until well blended.
  2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and almonds in a separate bowl, and stir until mixed. Pour into the butter mixture and mix just until combined and smooth; do not overwork the dough. Gather two-thirds of the dough into one ball and flatten it into a disk, then make a ball out of the remaining third of the dough and flatten that into a disk. Wrap individually in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. May be prepared up to 2 days in advance, covered, and chilled, or prepared up to 2 weeks in advance and frozen. Thaw before proceeding with step 3.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator; if it has chilled for longer than 30 minutes and is hard then let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, or until it is slightly firm. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, and with your fingers press the large ball of dough into the pan to cover the bottom and 1 inch up the sides.
  4. Mix the preserves with the lemon juice and spread evenly over the bottom of the crust.
  5. Roll out the remaining ball of dough between 2 pieces of wax paper until it is 8 or 9 inches in diameter, depending on the size of your pan. Slide the whole thing onto a plate and chill for 20 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the top sheet of wax paper from the dough, then cut the dough into ВЅ-inch-wide strips, cutting right through the wax paper. Take the center strip and lay it across the center of the torte with the wax paper side up, then peel off the wax paper. Place the second longest strip across the center in the opposite direction to make a cross, then peel off the wax paper. Press the ends of the strips into the sides of the crust as you go along. Place a strip on each side of both of these strips, and continue in this manner until the top is covered with the lattice.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Carefully brush some of the egg white over the lattice. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is evenly golden. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Serve at room temperature, with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.