Tag Archives: ganache

Wickedly Sinful Chocolate Torte

I’m not going to write very much today…

…instead, I’ll just tell you a little about this Wickedly Sinful Chocolate Torte and let your imagination and the pictures do the rest: it is made from layers of chewy meringue made with toasted hazelnuts, filled and topped with a rich chocolate ganache, and finished with a rich salted caramel sauce, studded with hazelnuts dipped in caramelised sugar.

Hopefully by now you’re drooling with notions of rich, decadent luxury.

Just a couple of tips: be sure to use good-quality hazelnuts, and do toast them lightly. This will release their full, rich flavour. Use a dark rather than milk chocolate for the ganache – the meringue is quite sweet, so you want something to counter that. And make sure to use salt in the caramel topping. Yes, salt. It takes the caramel from being sickly-sweet to something that is rich and  sophisticated. All this, and it’s gluten-free – not even a dash of wheat flour comes near this torte.

The recipe below looks quite elaborate, but each stage is quite easy. You can even skip the caramel on top, and it is still richly delicious.

Tempted yet? You should be!

To make a Wickedly Sinful Chocolate Torte:

I know this looks quite long and labourious, but it’s actually three relatively easy stages – I’ve just tried to set out what happens and what to watch out for as you’re going, so you don’t get any surprises.

For the layers:

• 4 egg whites (120g)
• 225g white caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon vinegar
• 2-3 drops vanilla extract
• 100g skinned hazelnuts, toasted and ground

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two 20cm (8 inch) cake tins with greaseproof paper (I recommend double-lining them – this prevents burning.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Add the sugar in 4-5 batches, whisking very well after each batch. Keep mixing until you have a stiff, glossy mixture.

Stir in the vinegar and vanilla, then fold in the ground hazelnuts. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins. Spread level, and bake for 45-50 minutes until crisp (it won’t puff up much, if at all). The surface will develop to a light beige, but should not get brown.

Once the meringue layers are ready, remove from the oven, and leave to cool completely.

For the chocolate ganache filling and topping:

• 300g double cream
• 150g dark chocolate
• 1 scant tablespoon caster sugar
• 1-2 drops vanilla extract

Put the cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Stir and put to one side.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Leave to cool until lukewarm. Pour the chocolate into the cream mixture and whisk immediately. The mixture will quickly thicken into chocolate whipped cream (takes only a few seconds, so act quickly and do not over-whisk!).

Spread half the filling over the base meringue. Put the second layer of meringue on top, and add the rest of the chocolate cream  Finish as desired – smooth, swirly or peaks. If you are going to add the caramel on top, then make peaks around the edge to keep the caramel from dripping off the top.

Store the filled torte in the fridge, removing about 30 minutes before serving.

For the caramel:

• 150g white sugar
• 2 tablespoons water
• 150g double cream
• 25g butter
• fleur de sel/kosher salt, very finely ground

Put the sugar in a saucepan with the water. Cook on a medium heat until the water has evaporated, and the sugar turns to a light caramel (watch like a hawk – it goes from golden caramel to bitter and burnt in a matter of seconds).

Pour about two-thirds of the cream into the caramel, and stir vigorously. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble up. Add the butter, and stir well. Leave to cool for around 5 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the cream, and add salt to taste – this really is matter of personal judgement, but it is easy to add to too much, so little by little is the way to do it.

Leave the caramel until completely cool. It should flow, but be very thick (if too thick, add a teaspoon of cream and stir well). Pour or drizzle over the chilled torte.

To make caramelised hazelnuts:

• 100g white sugar
• 2 tablespoon water
• 100g skinned hazelnuts, toasted

Put sugar into a saucepan with a little water. Cook until you have a light caramel. Add the nuts, mix quickly, and transfer to a non-stick baking sheet. Using a fork (because they’re very hot!) separate the nuts. If the caramel is too hard, put the lot into a hot oven and it will soften.

Worth making? Indeed! I made this for a party – it lasted about 5 minutes on the table.


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

Chocolate and Olive Oil Ganache

Who does not like a rich, luxuriant treat that is a doddle to knock together? I was doing a bit of web surfing and saw various usual “unusual’ combinations – sesame, chilli, pepper – but the one that caught my eye was an olive oil ganache. And why not? Fruity and spicy are two flavours often attributed to good quality olive oil as well as to decent chocolate, so in theory, they should work together.

To try out this idea, I kept things simple. I reasoned that I would just try a straightforward ganache recipe, with oil in the place of butter. I boiled cream and white sugar, poured onto dark chocolate, allowed to cool then stirred in the olive oil. I had thought the olive oil might stop it firming up, but this proved to be unfounded. It looked OK, so time to taste. In terms of flavour, the olive oil enhanced the fruitiness of the dark chocolate I had used. As it melted on the tongue, the chocolate taste yields up the flavour of the olive oil, but the two are clearly working together. There seems to be an impact on texture too – the ganache was silky-smooth, and it melted in the mouth, with a pleasing, slow finish. Plenty of scope to try different types of olive oil too.

To serve this up, I though it would be fun to use it as a simple chocolate spread on toasted sourdough bread, with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. At the risk of not being modest, this was perhaps the best chocolate spread treat I have ever had. The toasted bread, the oil, the salt, the richness of the chocolate. All comes together wonderfully. I might even be making this as my next brunch treat with friends. So good!

For the chocolate and olive oil ganache:

• 200g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
• 130ml double cream
• 25g white sugar
• 38g olive oil

Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan. Boil for 30 seconds. Pour over the chocolate, and stir until smooth (if not all of the chocolate melts, return to the saucepan and warm very gently until smooth, and return to the bowl).

Allow the mixture to cool slightly, and add the olive oil, stirring constantly. Allow to cool completely until firm (in the fridge if necessary).

Serve on warm toasted sourdough bread, drizzle with olive oil crumble some fleur de sel over the top.

Worth making? Definitely! This was much better than I had expected, and would make a great treat for the weekend. You can easily make a larger batch and use as chocolate spread if you like the stuff every day of the week, or even try using for truffles or in a chocolate tart.


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things