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Italian-Pistachio Torte

1 2/3 granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggsv 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powderv 2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped roasted pistachio nuts

Heat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour loaf pan (9x5x3-inch). Beat granulated sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in flour and baking powder alternately with 2/3 cup milk on low speed. Fold 1/3 cup of nuts into batter. Spread in pan. Bake 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Split, cake horizontally to make 3 layers. To split, mark sides of cake with toothpicks and cut with long, thin serrated knife.

Filling:

1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. corn syrupv 1 tsp. hot water
1/3 cup chopped roasted pistachio nuts

Mix ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, 1/3 cup chocolate chips, mil, and vanilla. Spread ricotta mixture over bottom and middle cake layers; stack layers. Add top of cake layer. Heat 1/4 cup chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup in 1-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Cool slightly. Stir in water. Spread chocolate mixture over top of torte. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup nuts. Let stand until chocolate mixture is firm. Rrefrigerate torte tightly covered for at least 2 hours before serving (best served in 24 hours). Makes 12 servings. Submitted by Elaine Bryenton, Brackley

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