Springform Pans—Terrific Tools, and Tortes—Terrific Desserts!

I get a lot of email from novice cooks and home bakers. A question that came in the other day was about the difference between a nine-inch round springform pan and a regular round nine-inch pan. The questioner also wanted to know what you do with a spring-form pan.

So, here’s the lowdown. Unlike a regular round nine-inch pan, the springform pan is made of two-pieces. Both the sides and the bottom can be removed. The pan has an interlocking band, usually 2 to 3 inches high, that forms the sides, opening and closing with the flick of a latch. The pan pieces are assembled for baking, and then, once the contents have baked and cooled, the band is opened and removed. It’s an easy and tidy way to transfer a baked good from it’s pan to a serving plate.

Because the cake remains on the pan's base after the sides are removed, the springform is perfect both for delicate confections, creamy cheesecakes, and for tortes.

The standard springform pan comes with one base, which can be either smooth, or dimpled with waffle-life indentations. This difference is deliberate: the flat bottom is meant specifically for cakes and the dimpled bottom is for crumb crusts or heavy concoctions. Here's something not many people know—they’re actually interchangeable.

While cheesecakes bake just fine in a typical pie plate, the serving of cut cheesecake from a pie plate does NOT come out so fine. At least not the first piece. And this is one reason folks like the springform pan so much—being able to remove the pan’s sides means easier and neater serving. The presentation is almost always perfect.

Another attractive thing about the springform pan is all the different shapes it now comes in. The heart, circle, and square are the most common. But I’m seeing other designs show up as well. Cake-bakers and pastry chefs are loving these pans.

OK, that leads me to another thing I’ve wondered about: What exactly is a TORTE (mentioned above)? The dictionary says Torte is the German word for "cake." It is a cake that uses groundnuts as the predominant dry ingredient in place of most or sometimes all of the flour (which is why it’s also known as a flourless cake).

Although tortes may be single layered, they’re often sliced into several layers and filled with whipped cream, jam, or butter cream.

Tortes make a great dessert for the Jewish holiday of Passover, when flour can't be used. AND, I would think a torte would be a perfect dessert for anyone with grain intolerances as well! Seasoned bakers generally agree that the springform pan is the best choice for baking this dessert.

I’d like to know if you use a springform pan, how you like it, and if you’ve ever made a torte. Isn’t it fascinating that in the world of food, cooking, and baking, there’s always so much to learn, and so much to talk about?

  •   www.deltatekoffshore.com
  •   www.simplyrecipes.com
  •   www.en.wikipedia.org
  •   www.foodnetwork.com
  •   www.pinterest.com

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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