Torta #2: merengue de limón
A friend of ours from Jackson Hole claims this is the best of the bunch. So we dug in.
Jason was digging the “frosting” and the crust, but wasn’t as into the limón filling itself. (By the way, maybe it’s just me, but it seems wrong to call meringue, “frosting.” Maybe meringue is just meringue—it has no genus, and defies any and all taxonomic classification. Right? Maybe?)
According to Jason, “The lemon has more of a lemon zest taste than a lemon juice taste.” This led to a long discussion of whether the lemon filling was supposed to taste like lemon zest or lemon juice….But we finished the torta before we really came to any definitive answer, and we sort of just moved on.
Who Should Get It: if you’re not into chocolate, and you want something that packs a sweeter punch than the apple crisp, then this is the ticket.
Should You Share? We recommend that you get your own piece. It’s not over-the-top rich, so you’ll probably be glad you had your own.
It was now time to dial things up a notch, and dig in to the three heavyweight contenders.
Torta #3: torta tala
Torta Tala consists of alternating layers of brownie and dulce de leche, with a merengue topping.
* Note: Dulce de leche—“candy of milk,” or “milk candy”—is a South American sweet made by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that derives its taste from caramelized sugar. The consistency, and uses, are a lot like Nutella—that is, if Nutella was 10 times more addictive than it is.
Throughout our three weeks in Argentina, Will Brown, Jason Hutchins, and Ryan Caspar were spreading dulce de leche on everything from apple slices to crackers to cookies, and every piece of bread or toast they could find. Truly, I’m surprised that I didn’t catch them spreading it on a magazine cover or newspaper. Even if I had, who could blame them? This stuff is good.
The torta tala stopped us in our tracks. All of us quit talking. This torta has a ton of texture, and the meringue was setting up thicker than spring snow.
In fact, we had a 10-minute conversation likening the torta tala to a spring snow pack. And since I’m sure you’re absolutely dying to hear our analysis…
If the torta tala was a snowpack, skiing it would basically end in certain death. There is a thick sun crust on top (the meringue), which gives way to a dense wind slab (two finger hardness), then a layer of creamy pow (the first layer of dulce de leche) that is a lot like the snow in Jackson Hole’s Rendezvous Bowl.
But the layer of creamy pow rests on a layer of firm, early season snow pack (the brownie), which includes a good number of rocks (walnuts). Even worse, that firm layer is sitting on top of another creamy, unstable layer (dulce de leche, again) and a final, firm, foundational layer of brownie. Tons of instability here, and we were thankful that we didn’t have to ski on the torta tala, just eat it. Because eating it wasn’t terrifying at all, it was awesome. And it was rich. When you look up the word rico in any Spanish dictionary, there should simply be a picture of the torta tala.
Who Should Get It: Chocolate lovers. Those who love rich, textured desserts. Brownie, meringue, and dulce de leche. There is nothing subtle here, this is full-on, serious DESSERT, and it comes strong.
Should You Share? For the love of God, share it. To consume an entire piece of this by yourself could kill you, or at least, put you to sleep for a very long time.
Torta # 4: torta rogel
Torta Rogel consists of merengue, dulce de leche, and ojaldre, but this is basically straight-up dulce. Dulce, dulce, dulce, interrupted only by six thin layers of a lightly sweetened crust (ojaldre).
And while the rest of us were finally feeling the shock-and-awe of this dulce de leche bomb and our skyrocketing blood sugar levels (this was our fourth dessert, after all), Jason was raving about the texture provided by those six ojaldre layers.
And they are great. But they are no match for the dulce, and don’t really slow that carmalized-sugar freight train down at all. (Imagine a piece of pie or cake, 6″ tall, made almost entirely of a much, much sweeter Nutella. Get it?)
Who Should Get It: You’d better be way into dulce de leche if you’re going to walk down this road and opt for the rogel over the tala, or our next contender.
Should You Share? While the tarta tala may be más rico, the torta rogel would be harder to finish a whole piece by yourself. Share the rogel with two or three people. Or five. None of us could even bring ourselves to take out the last bite. We had to throw in the towel on this one. No más.
At this point, our stomachs are stuffed, the thought of consuming any more torta seems both impossible and morally reprehensible, and our blood sugar levels are stratospheric. Plus, we’ve emptied a couple of café dobles to wash down all of the torta, so we’ve got enough caffeine coursing through our veins to stay awake for a week.
But we’ve still got one more torta to go, and it’s the one that started it all…