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Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter, or spray with 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.

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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