The Cake Layers Method:
In medium bowl, combine water, vodka and vinegar and whisk.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with salt.
Add the eggs to the water mixture and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the flour and butter.
Use hands or pastry cutter to combine until mixture resembles small crumbs.
Add in the whisked eggs and fold together with your hands to form a soft dough.
Turn dough onto clean work space and knead together to form soft dough. Divide into 12 even pieces and knead each piece into a small ball. Place dough on tray, cover well and refrigerate 30-45 minutes.
Prepare creme while dough is chilling.
Combine egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in large, nonstick saucepan.
Whisk in 1/2 cup cold milk until well combined. Add flour and whisk until smooth and add additional 1/4 cup milk. Set aside.
In separate pot, add remaining milk and warm on low until it begins to simmer, stirring constantly to avoid scalding.
Pour hot milk into egg yolk mixture, whisking until smooth.
Place sauce pot on stove top and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to avoid scalding; simmer lightly approximately 25-30 minutes.
Cooked mixture needs to be thick and free of clumps (if you scrape clumps off the side of saucepan, discard).
Once mixture has cooked and thickened, remove from heat and place pot into ice bath. Cool, stirring occasionally, to prevent clumps from forming. Mixture needs to be cooled to at least room temperature.
Place butter into mixing bowl and whip until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup cooked mixture and beat until incorporated. Do this several times until butter is mixed well with the cooked yolks. Then add the remaining cooked mixture and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
Place cream mixture in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the cake.
Baking the Cake Layers:
Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To bake the layers, use 2 flat baking sheets or 2 jelly roll pans turned upside down. (I used Pampered Chef Pizza Stone).
The dough needs to be thin and evenly rolled out. I used parchment paper over the dough to be able to roll it very thin and so it wouldn’t stick to the rolling pin.
Use a round, 8 inch plate and cut out a circle in the dough. Leave the edges beyond the circle on the baking sheet and bake with the dough circle. You’ll need these dough scraps later. Pierce the dough with a fork all over.
After placing it in the oven, check on it 2 minutes for air bubbles and pierce them with a fork–you want the cake layer to be as flat as possible. Bake at 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
Once the cake layer is done, remove immediately from pan onto a flat surface to cool
While 1 cake layer is baking, prepare the next layer.
Stack baked and cooled layers on top of each other and keep them covered. You will have a total of 12 cake layers. They may not all be evenly shaped and this is okay.
Assembling the Cake:
Spread several TBSP of creme on the surface of the plate you will be using and cover with the first layer.
Cover each layer with several generous TBSPs of the creme and stack the layers as evenly as possible.
Add creme to the top and sides of the cake and place in the refrigerator overnight. Refrigerate any leftover creme.
The next day, use the left over creme to finish the cake–spread evenly and coat the sides to make them even.
Crush the baked scrapes in a large bag with a rolling pin and sprinkle them on the top and sides of cake.
The Torte’s freshness is captured by freezing overnight and then thawing in your refrigerator the next day. This must be done or the torte will crumble.
About 1 hour before serving, set out at room temperature. The torte may be frozen up to 4 months and refrozen twice.