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Food and Film, an Oscar Celebration: Amadeus and Schaum Torte

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The Oscar's, or Academy Awards, have become an international yearly tradition for film fans the world over. Millions of people look forward to the one day of the year when a gold plated little naked bald man takes over the media universe. Whether you love or hate the choices of the academy members, the fact-of-the-matter is, the Oscar's are a cause for celebration -- and what better way to celebrate than with food! This year we'll celebrate with some great food from the films which have taken home the Oscar for Best Picture.

Amadeus (Best Picture, 1984): Whether it be the perfect music score, the exceptional acting or the time-period costumes, there is no denying the fact that Amadeus is one of the finest films ever produced. Though most film fans will know that the film won eight Oscars in 1984, what many do not know is that during the year of its release, it was nominated for fifty-three major film awards and won forty of them. The locale for Amadeus is Austria and in the European culinary crown, Austria is one of the shining jewels and one of its most famous dishes is a dessert known as Schaum Torte.

What this dessert really is, is a meringue cake but to get to the finished product is a little more challenging. First of all, meringue is not really baked, it is dried (which is why the oven temperature is so low or in some cases just the pilot light). With this torte, the egg whites are actually baked in a "slow" oven (meaning low degrees) and it doesn't really matter whether the color of the egg whites are ivory or even slightly golden since it is layered over with whipped cream.

The only really difficult part about making this ultimate dessert is removing it from the pan. Though it is baked in a springform pan, you don't just want to release the spring. If you do that the cake will break (yes, it is that brittle). You first want to run a hot knife around the perimeter of the torte and once the knife glides freely, then very carefully release the spring.

Ingredients needed to make Schaum Torte (makes 1 torte):

  • 12 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled (stems removed)

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl (or with a mixer) whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vinegar and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  2. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Spoon the egg whites into the pan and smooth out the top.
  3. Place the pan into a cold oven. Turn the heat to 325 degrees and bake 1 hour (or until the egg whites have set).
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and let the torte cool in the pan until it is at room temperature.
  5. Run a hot knife around the perimeter of the torte in the pan and then very carefully unspring the pan. Carefully transfer the torte to a serving plate.
  6. In a large bowl (or with a mixer) whisk the whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
  7. Spread the whipped cream over the torte, including the sides.
  8. Arrange the strawberries over the torte and serve.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.

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