Hazelnut French Silk Torte
Although a bit more involved to make, this luscious and silky torte will evoke numerous platitudes and gratitudes from any true chocolate aficionado. It contains no flour, resulting in a dense, rich custard with a confection-like texture. If you don’t care for hazelnuts, almonds may be substituted.
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 10 ounces (about 2 cups chocolate coins) Kakao Berlin Cologne Organic Dark Chocolate
- 1¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup hazelnut butter
- 6 tablespoons brewed espresso beverage
- ¼ cup orange liqueur
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- Boiling water as needed
- 1 recipe Dark Chocolate Ganache made with Kakao Berlin Cologne Organic Dark Chocolate, melted
- 16 toasted whole hazelnuts
- ¼ cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Lightly spray a 9-inch spring form pan with pan spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Wrap a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil around the outside base of the pan so that the foil comes up the sides of the pan about one and a half inches. (As this torte is baked in a water bath, this precaution will prevent water from seeping into the batter as it bakes.) Place the prepared pan in a large roasting pan or rimmed baking pan that is at least one inch deep. Set the pan aside.
Place the hazelnuts, oatmeal and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the processor a few times then turn it on. Grind until the nuts are fine but not oily. Add the ¼ cup butter and pulse the mixture until the butter has been thoroughly incorporated. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Place the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate and butter have melted. Remove the bowl from the pan and then dry the bottom of the bowl. Add the hazelnut butter, brewed espresso beverage and the orange liqueur. Stir to thoroughly combine.
Whisk the eggs and the ¾ cup of brown sugar just until foamy. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan with the crust in the bottom. Place the roasting or baking pan holding the filled spring form pan on the middle rack of the oven. Add about one inch of boiling water to the roasting or baking pan. Carefully slide the rack into the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes until the filling has set but the center is still shiny.
Remove the spring form pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely in the spring form pan. Place the cooled cake into the refrigerator and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
Glaze, decorate and serve
Remove the sides of the spring form pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap or foil over the top of the cake. Invert the cake onto a flat dish. Peel the paper or foil off of the bottom crust. Invert the cake onto a 9-inch round cardboard cake board. Place the cake on a wire cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
Pour the ganache over the cake, using a small icing spatula to coax the ganache evenly over the sides of the cake. The cake should be completely covered with ganache. There will be more ganache than you will use on the cake. Simply scrape it into an airtight storage container, cover and refrigerate for another use.
When the ganache just begins to firm up, arrange the whole hazelnuts evenly around the top edge of the torte. Place the chopped hazelnuts on a piece of waxed or parchment paper. Mask the bottom edge ¼-inch wide with the chopped hazelnuts. Allow the ganache to set up until it is firm. If you are not serving right away, store in an airtight container refrigerated. When ready to serve, cut into wedges using a knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry each time you make a slice. Place on a serving plate and garnish with whipped cream and fresh berries if desired.
For the most accurate results, weigh the chocolate rather than measuring it if possible.
To toast the hazelnuts lay them in a single layer on a rimmed baking pan and place them in a preheated 350° F oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown and fragrant. While the nuts are still warm gather them up in a clean, dry tea towel and rub the towel vigorously over the nuts. Most of the skin should come off. Once they have cooled, separate them from the skins.
If you can’t find hazelnut butter, put 1 cup toasted hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the bowl or a food processor. Process until the nuts become semi-liquid like natural peanut butter, stopping several time to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Recipe by Robert Hammond for Kakao Berlin