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Fat, not flavor is diminished in strawberry almond torte


Most Americans love desserts but they aren't so crazy about the fat and calories. This crunchy, nut-flavored Strawberry Almond Torte delivers the sweet satisfaction people crave from desserts but with less than 9 grams of fat and fewer than 300 calories per delicious serving.

Strawberry Almond Torte is a lower-fat version of a classic nut-based dessert that originated in the coffeehouses of 19th-century Vienna. This recipe can be whipped up in minutes using a wooden spoon or a food processor.

This recipe calls for strawberry sugarless fruit spread, but you can vary the fruit flavor according to your whim. Apricot, raspberry or blackberry would also taste terrific in this sweet summer treat.

Strawberry Almond Torte Makes 10 servings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick oats

1/2 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped (a 2 1/4 -ounce package)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated orange peel or 1/4 teaspoon dried orange peel

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 teaspoon almond extract, divided

4 tablespoons cold water

1 (10-ounce) jar sugarless strawberry fruit spread

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer, combine the flour, oats, nuts, sugar and orange peel. Blend until thoroughly mixed. Combine the oil, water and 1/4 teaspoon of the almond extract. Add the liquids by drops into the flour mixture. Combine until the flour is moistened.

Reserve one-third of the dough to make the topping. Pat the remaining dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch flat tart pan with a removable bottom. (You can also use a 9-inch springform pan.) Combine the sugarless strawberry fruit spread with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Spread the filling over the prepared dough. Crumble the reserved dough over the surface.

Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting. If desired, sprinkle the top with powdered sugar before serving.

Test kitchen notes: This torte can be made in advance and frozen either baked or unbaked. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cutting or baking. It also stays fresh after baking up to three days covered in the refrigerator. Other nuts, such as pecans or walnuts can be substituted for almonds but they are higher in fat.

Nutrition information per serving: calories, 256; fat, 8.7; carbohydrate, 41.6 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 24 milligrams.

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