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Smoked fish torte ... build it in layers.

Showy but simple, this layer cake look-alike is really a smoked fish torte that makes a cool luncheon entree or a handsome starter for a party dinner.

First you bake tender, unsweetened souffle layers. Between them go dill-flavored cream cheese, smoked trout, peppery arugula, and cucumber slices. Frost torte's top with more cheese. After torte chills, it cuts neatly to reveal green and white layers inside.

It takes time to put the torte together, but you can complete it in steps up to the day before serving.

Smoked Trout and Arugula Torte

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

4 large eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar Cream cheese filling (recipe follows)

1 smoked trout fillet (1/3 to 1/2 lb.), skinned and boned

3 ounces (about 4 cups, loosely packed) arugula leaves, rinsed and crisped

1 small (about 8 oz.) cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Lightly butter 2 cake pans, each 9 inches in diameter. Line bottoms with waxed paper, then butter paper and dust pans with flour; set pans aside.

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour. Remove from heat and smoothly whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks; stir yolk mixture back into pan and stir until mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Let stand to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites with cream of tartar on high speed until they hold stiff, moist peaks. Gently fold yolk mixture into white mixture, just until blended. Divide batter equally between floured pans.

Bake in a 350[deg] oven until richly browned and firm to touch, 50 to 55 minutes; alternate pan positions halfway through baking. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge. Gently invert torte layers onto racks and carefully peel paper from them. Let cool completely.

Place 1 torte layer on a flat plate; spread layer evenly with 1/4 of the cream cheese filling. Flake 1/2 the trout over the cheese. Set aside 8 nicely shaped arugula leaves of similar size. Lay remaining arugula flat over trout.

Gently spread another 1/4 of the filling over the arugula, pushing leaves back into place as you go. Sprinkle cheese with remaining trout, then cover with an even, single layer of cucumber slices flush to the torte rim.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of the filling on the inverted (bottom) side of the other torte layer. Invert layer onto the first, aligning neatly.

Spread remaining filling on the top layer, and place reserved arugula leaves on cheese in spoke fashion, with cut edges toward center.

Cover gently but airtight with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or up until next day; unwrap.

Cut torte into wedges; use a pie server to move wedges onto plates. Makes 12 first-course servings, 6 main-dish servings.

Per first-course serving: 214 cal.; 10 g protein; 16 g fat; 7.7 g carbo.; 290 mg sodium; 126 mg chol.

Cream cheese filling. With a mixer, smoothly blend 1 large package (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature; 1/2 cup sour cream; 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish; and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill. If made ahead, cover and chill up until next day. Bring to room temperature before using.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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