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Peach torte celebrates fresh peaches in a European-style cake. Roasting the peaches first is a must and gives the torte several tantalizing textures.

With the massive power outages plaguing so many residents recently, we considered ourselves very fortunate to have been spared. Until we weren’t. Last Thursday, a few minutes after I put a peach torte into the oven, the power went out suddenly and unexpectedly. The torte was to be photographed that afternoon for Wednesday’s column. Not knowing how long we’d be without power, I left the torte in the oven and just hoped the electrons would start flowing through the wires as soon as possible.

About 1 hour and 20 minutes later, I got my wish, but by then the oven was cold. Undaunted, I baked the torte for its full 1 hour and then, finally, opened the oven door. I gasped. The torte looked beautiful. The peaches had been engulfed by the batter, and the torte’s top was a deep golden brown. Of course, looks can be deceiving, so I had to wait another hour or so for the torte to cool sufficiently before I could taste it.

I needn’t have worried. Everything was as it should have been. And as a bonus, the torte proved to be indestructible.

Here’s what to expect when you dig into a slice. The texture of this torte changes from tip to edge, and therein lies its magic. Your first few bites from its tip are moist and pudding-like. Then, as you eat your way toward the outer edge, the torte becomes more cake-like with a consistency that blends perfectly with the oven-roasted peaches. By the time you get to the crusty edge, you’ve experienced a world of textures just in this one slice.

Years ago, I published a recipe in the Missoulian for Plum Torte, a classic New York Times recipe that was that paper’s most popular recipe ever. Now that we’re in the middle of a fantastic peach season thanks to Tom and Lynn McCamant’s Forbidden Fruit Orchards, a friend suggested I try making a peach torte. Because peaches are such a juicy fruit, I knew I couldn’t simply use them as is. Recently, I watched a Cooks Illustrated video on roasting peaches to remove their moisture, so I decided to give the method a try. It worked! I made the torte batter and arranged wedges of cooled roasted peaches on top and the torte baked up perfectly. Here’s the recipe. The roasted peaches work well in savory dishes as well as desserts.

Peach Torte

Make sure to bake the torte for the full time. Check your oven temperature for accuracy. The edges of the baked torte will be about 1 1/2 inches high, and the center about 1 inch.

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Peaches

2 pounds firm, ripe freestone peaches, peeled, halved and pitted

2 tablespoons sugar

Torte Batter

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces, measured by dipping the dry measure into flour container, filling to overflowing, and sweeping off the excess)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

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2 large eggs

Topping

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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For the peaches, bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a large bowl of iced water nearby. Add the peaches to the boiling water and let them sit in the water for 30 to 40 seconds. Transfer them to the iced water with a slotted spoon. Wait a minute or so. One by one, remove peaches from water and slip off their skins. Cut peaches in half along their seams and separate the halves. Remove and discard the pits.

Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet (17 by 11 inches) with heavy-duty foil. Set peach halves cut side up on the foil and sprinkle them with the 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, then flip the halves over and return pan to the oven for 30 minutes more. Remove from oven and let peaches cool completely. You’ll need 1 pound of roasted halves for the torte, about 12 (6 peaches). Cut each half in two to make 24 wedges.

For the torte, butter a 9-inch spring-form pan. Reset the oven thermostat to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-size bowl.

Beat the butter until smooth on medium speed with an electric mixer, about 1 minute. While beating, gradually add the sugar in a thin stream. Scrape the bowl and beater and add the vanilla. Beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until incorporated and batter is smooth and very thick.

Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. It will be about 1/2-inch thick. Arrange the 24 peach wedges in tightly-packed concentric circles on top of the batter. Drizzle lemon juice over the fruit. Combine the 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the peaches.

Bake for 1 hour, until top of torte is well-browned. The peaches will have been engulfed by the batter during baking. Cool the torte completely in its pan on a wire rack.

Remove the sides of the pan, cut the torte into wedges, and serve. The torte needs nothing else. Best when very fresh.

• Makes 8 servings.

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Greg Patent is a columnist for the Missoulian and Missoula Magazine. Please visit his blog, thebakingwizard.com. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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