Choco­late hazel­nut tor te

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Exclusive Extract -

A lot of peo­ple ask me the dif­fer­ence be­tween a cake and a torte. Tortes are made with ground nuts, eggs and lit­tle or no flour. Leave the ganache off if you like – it will still be lovely. Just scat­ter whole hazel­nuts over the bat­ter be­fore it goes in the oven. SERVES 10-12

250g good-qual­ity dark choco­late (min­i­mum 60% co­coa solids)

200g roasted hazel­nuts, skins re­moved

50g hazel­nut or al­mond meal 225g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened

200g caster su˜ar 6 eggs, sep­a­rated

CHOCO­LATE GANACHE

150g good qual­ity dark choco­late

150ml sour cream 60g whole hazel­nuts

1 Pre­heat the oven to 150°C (130°C fan-forced). Line a 22cm round cake tin with bak­ing pa­per or do it the old-fash­ioned way and but­ter and flour the tin.

2 Pre­pare the choco­late and hazel­nuts by chop­ping them separately in a food pro­ces­sor. They should be as fine as pos­si­ble (like pow­der). Com­bine them in a bowl with the hazel­nut or al­mond meal and set aside.

3 Us­ing an elec­tric mixer fit­ted with the pad­dle at­tach­ment, cream the but­ter and two-thirds of the sugar on medium speed for about 3 min­utes or un­til pale and fluffy. While con­tin­u­ing to beat, add the egg yolks one at a time, mix­ing well be­tween each ad­di­tion. Now add the finely chopped hazel­nut and choco­late and mix on low speed for about 1 minute un­til com­bined.

4 Wash your mixer bowl so it is scrupu­lously clean for the egg whites and fit the whisk at­tach­ment. Add the egg whites to the bowl and whisk on medium speed un­til soft rib­bons form. Start adding the re­main­ing sugar grad­u­ally, and con­tinue adding a lit­tle at a time over a 2-minute pe­riod, whisk­ing un­til the meringue is thick and glossy.

5 Fold the meringue through the hazel­nut mix­ture, one-third at a time. Or­di­nar­ily I would say leave a few streaks of egg white re­main­ing in the bat­ter for light­ness, but this cake turns out bet­ter if the egg whites are al­most whipped back into the but­ter mix­ture. Be­cause of the nat­u­ral oils in the hazel­nuts the bat­ter will try to sep­a­rate (like when a mix­ture cur­dles) but a swift whip when adding the egg whites will help emul­sify ev­ery­thing nicely. This is why we add the nut meal; we are, in ef­fect, in­tro­duc­ing a flour to ab­sorb the oils and al­low the but­ter to meld with the nuts and choco­late.

6 Pour the bat­ter into the pre­pared tin and smooth the sur­face with a spoon. Bake for 1 hour or un­til the cen­tre of the cake bounces back when pressed with your fin­ger. Add an­other 15 min­utes if you are bak­ing the larger size. This cake can­not be tested with a skewer be­cause the cen­tre is so molten with choco­late it will give a false in­di­ca­tor to readi­ness. I would highly rec­om­mend bak­ing this cake on the bare racks of your oven (no tray un­der­neath) to max­imise the heat reach­ing the base of the cake tin. This heat will caramelise the bot­tom of the cake and add to the cake’s tex­ture.

7 Leave the torte to cool in the tin for a few hours or overnight, then in­vert the tin to “tap” the cake out and place it right-side up on your serv­ing plat­ter. It will most likely sink a lit­tle in the mid­dle as it cools. Don’t panic. Just press down the out­side edges be­fore spread­ing the ganache.

8 CHOCO­LATE GANACHE Melt the choco­late in a heat­proof bowl over a pan of sim­mer­ing wa­ter un­til it is quite hot. Give the sour cream a lit­tle mix and then re­move the choco­late from the pan and fold through the sour cream. The ganache will set im­me­di­ately, en­abling you to pipe it evenly over the top of the cake. Us­ing a pip­ing bag fit­ted with a 11mm plain noz­zle, pipe a cir­cle of the ganache neatly around the cir­cum­fer­ence of the top of the cake then spi­ral your way into the cen­tre un­til the top is evenly cov­ered. Al­ter­na­tively, you can use an off­set palette knife and spread the ganache over the top.

TO DEC­O­RATE Scat­ter the whole hazel­nuts over the top to dec­o­rate.

Na­dine’s tip: This cake is a keeper! It’s good for 4-5 days at room tem­per­a­ture. Just be sure to cover it so it doesn’t dry out around the out­side.

EX­TRACTED FROMFLOUR AND STONE BY NA­DINE IN­GRAM, PUB­LISHED BY SI­MON & SCHUS­TER AUSTRALIA, RRP $55, OR NZ$65.

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