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Maple-Walnut Espresso Torte

['1 cup water', '2/3 cup sugar', '2 tablespoons pure maple syrup', '2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice', '1 teaspoon instant espresso powder', '1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom', '2 cups walnuts (about 8 ounces) plus walnut halves for decoration', '1/3 cup matzo meal', '4 large eggs', '1/2 cup pure maple syrup', '1/4 cup sugar', '1/4 teaspoon salt', '4 teaspoons instant espresso powder', '1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel', '2 teaspoons ground cardamom', 'Whipped nondairy topping (optional)*']

Bring all ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup thickens slightly and is reduced to 1 generous cup, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil inside of 8-inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Blend 2 cups walnuts and matzo meal in processor until nuts are finely ground. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, maple syrup, sugar, and salt in large bowl at high speed 5 minutes. Add espresso, lemon peel, and cardamom and beat until beginning to thicken, about 5 minutes longer. Gently fold in nut mixture in 4 additions. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake torte until brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer torte to rack. Spoon 4 tablespoons syrup over hot torte. Decorate top with walnut halves. Cool completely in pan on rack. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover remaining syrup and torte separately and let stand at room temperature.)
Cut around pan sides to loosen torte. Remove pan sides. Cut torte into wedges. Serve with remaining syrup and whipped topping, if desired.
*Kosher-for-Passover nondairy topping mix is usually available in the frozen foods section of kosher markets and some supermarkets. Prepare it according to directions on the label.

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