Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Torte
2-2/3 cups toasted slivered almonds
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 15 square crackers)
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
8 eggs, separated
3/4 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese , softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup finely chopped pitted dates or raisins
1/2 cup chunk-style applesauce
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1. Grease and flour three 8x1-1/2-inch round baking pans; set aside. Process or blend almonds in small batches in a food processor bowl or blender container, covered, until nuts are finely ground but not oily. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in crumbs, baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, and 3/4 teaspoon orange peel; set aside.
2. Beat egg yolks and 2/3 cup of the sugar in a small mixer bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 6 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. Fold in nuts.
3. Wash beaters. Beat egg whites in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold 1 cup of the egg white mixture into pumpkin mixture. Fold pumpkin mixture into remaining egg white mixture. Spread evenly in prepared pans.
4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool thoroughly on racks.
5. For the filling, in a small bowl beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; beat well. Stir inthe dates and applesauce. Set aside. For the whipped cream, in small chilled mixing bowl beat the whipping cream, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon orange peel with an electric mixer on medium speed just until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
6. To assemble torte, split each cake layer in half horizontally. Place bottom of one split layer on a serving plate. Spread with about 2/3 cup of the Apple-Date Filling. Repeat with remaining cake layers and filling, ending with top cake layer. Spoon Sweetened Whipped Cream on top layer. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 4 hours. Makes 16 servings.
Make-ahead tip: Wrap baked cake layers for freezing and freeze up to 3 months ahead. Thaw before using. Prepare Apple-Date Filling, cover, and chill up to 2 days ahead