Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hazelnut Torta

One of my favorite breakfasts in Ireland was nutella on toast, it was quick, easy, and on those rainy days when walking to school seemed like a monumental task, and you didn't have time to take a shower because you opted to hit snooze instead of get up and turn on the hot water, and you really really wanted a nice cup of coffee, nutella on toast, all the melty chocolate and hazelunutty goodness could really turn your day around. This is the fancy dinner party version of that, it inspires the same feeling of all being right in the world. My mom picked it out for her mother's day dessert, my dad said he would serve it to the Obama family if they ever came over for dinner (I mean I did see Barack once so we are basically close personal friends and having him and his family over for dinner is totally in the realm of possibility). I just want you to know what you are getting into with this, it's super tasty, uses a whole jar of nutella, has absolutely no flour, half a dozen eggs, and there is heavy cream involved. The recipe can be found here and I will post the American conversion of the ingredients after the pictures so you don't have to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what gas mark 4 is in fahrenheit or anything like that.

Start by mixing up the butter and nutella, then add the frangelico/rum/water (I used water), egg yolks and ground hazelnuts.

Meanwhile, in your stand mixer, whip up those egg whites (unless you have freakish forearm/wrist stamina and want to do it by hand) until stiff. I may have spaced out just a tiny bit and over beat them by a few seconds, but the cake still turned out lovely.

After the egg whites have been beaten up you do the whole standard shebang where you lighten the chocolate mixture some with a dollop of them and then fold the rest in. Then you pour that mixture into your springform pan and bake it. Ours is nonstick so I didn't do the whole greasing it then lining it with parchment paper step and it was fine. If you are the nervous sort you could always do that step, I personally prefer to skip steps like that and then afterwards when I can't get it out complain loudly about how the damn cake won't come out of the pan, but that's just me.

While it is cooking, or any time really, (you want these to be cool when you use them) toast up your hazelnuts. I could not find whole ones in my grocery store, which I thought would be less aesthetically pleasing and as we all know you eat with your eyes first, but the cake ended up quite pretty anyways.

Then for the fun part, the icing. This pot of heavy cream and chocolate chips turns into a lovely chocolate goo once the chips melt. After that it is just a matter of it cooling some so that it is the right consistency to ice the cake.

Spread a thick layer of icing over the cooled cake.

Top with the toasted hazelnuts and serve. Rich, but not too dense, it melts in your mouth.

Hazelnut Torta (from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson)
Here are the American conversions of the ingredients and the recipe can be found here.
For the cake
6 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
14 oz. nutella
1 tablespoon frangelico, rum or water
scant 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
4 oz. buttersweet chocolate, melted

For the topping
4 oz. hazelnuts
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon frangelico, rum or water
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate

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