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Chocolate Hazelnut Torte Recipe & Video

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This Chocolate Hazelnut Torte is a European style cake. It is rustic looking, with its thin top crust which is cracked and broken and sunken in the center. Yet inside the texture of this cake is dense, yet wonderfully soft and moist. And it's buttery rich with the flavors of chocolate and hazelnuts. It really doesn't need a frosting, and oftentimes I like to serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or crème fraiche

The Torte's dense texture comes from the fact that it doesn't contain any chemical leavening and it contains very little flour. Instead, it has finely ground toasted hazelnuts which gives the cake its grainy texture. Lots of melted chocolate and butter provide a rich and deep chocolate flavor. You can use either a semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate. Try to use a good quality chocolate, one that you would enjoy eating on its own. What's unique about this cake is that while the cake rises during baking, it collapses as it cools, leaving a crisp crust that is cracked and sunken, yet inside the texture of the cake is soft and moist.

While you can serve this Torte the day it is made, it does benefit from being stored overnight. This gives the flavors time to soften and mingle. You can store this cake at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If you do store it in the refrigerator, and serve it cold, its texture goes from being soft and moist to more like a fudgy brownie.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Torte: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter, or spray with a nonstick cooking spray, an 8 x 3 inch (20 x 8 cm) spring form pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

Separate the eggs while they are still cold, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (this will take about 30 - 60 minutes).

Next, place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 13 to 15 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool. Then place the hazelnuts in a food processor, along with the flour and salt, and process until the hazelnuts are finely ground.

Then, in a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside.  

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup (100 grams) of the granulated white sugar until pale and thick (about 3 - 5 minutes). (When you raise the paddle the mixture will slowly fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. With a rubber spatula gently fold, in the chocolate mixture and the ground hazelnuts. Set aside while you whip the egg whites.

In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) of granulated white sugar, beating at high speed until stiff but not dry. With a large spatula or whisk, fold a small amount of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites, in two additions. (Do not over mix or the batter will deflate.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake has moist crumbs clinging to it. (The top of the cake will have formed a thin crust with some cracks.)

Cool the torte completely in the pan that has been placed on a wire rack. The Torte will fall in the center as it cools, leaving a higher rim of cake around the sides and there will also be some cracking and crumbs. Once the torte has cooled completely remove from pan. If desired, serve with softly whipped cream or crème fraiche.

The Torte can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about three to four days, or it can be frozen for about two months.

Serves 10 - 12.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Torte Recipe:

4 large eggs (200 grams)

1 cup (100 grams) raw and peeled hazelnuts

2 tablespoons (20 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

6 ounces (170 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

6 ounces (170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar, divided

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar

Note:  Cream of tartar is used when whipping eggs whites to help stabilize them, and to prevent them from drying out and being over beaten.


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