Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte with Praline Ganache
A chocoholic’s delight! Instead of using shop-bought praline or chocolate and hazelnut spread, both packed with refined sugar, I make my own praline paste using nut butters and natural sweeteners. It adds a really pure nutty flavour and texture to this rich and decadent cake without making it sickly sweet.
Ingredients - Serves 10-12 Praline paste *90 g (3 oz/generous ⅓ cup) hazelnut butter *90 g (3 oz/generous ⅓ cup) almond butter *20 g (¾ oz/1 tbsp) raw honey *20 g (¾ oz/2 tbsp) Palmyra nectar powder *¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt Chocolate and hazelnut torte *160 g (5½ oz/1⅛ cup) hazelnuts *100 g (3½ oz) dark (bittersweet) chocolate 85% cocoa solids *100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) coconut oil *100 g (3½ oz/⅓ cup) praline paste (see above) *3 eggs, separated *½ tsp Himalayan pink salt *2 tsp vanilla extract *50 g (1¾ oz/⅓ cup) Palmyra nectar powder Honey praline ganache *90 g (3 oz) dark (bittersweet) chocolate 85% cocoa solids *120 g (4¼ oz) (the rest of the) praline paste (see above) *100 ml (3½ fl oz/⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp) hazelnut milk *35 g (1¼ oz/scant 2 tbsp) raw honey
Method 1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the bottom of a 23 cm (9 inch) springform cake tin with coconut oil. 2. To make the homemade praline paste, mix everything together well and set aside. 3. To make the torte, line a baking tray and toast the hazelnuts for about 7 minutes. 4. Set aside 60 g (2 oz/scant ½ cup) of the hazelnuts for the topping. Remove the skins from the remaining hazelnuts and blitz in a food processor until as fine as possible. 5. Slowly melt the chocolate over a bain-marie (see page 156) then add the coconut oil. When everything has melted, remove from the heat and add the measured praline paste. Stir to combine. Add the ground nuts, egg yolks, half the salt and the vanilla extract to the chocolate mix. 6. Whip the egg whites with the remaining salt until fully whipped and firm, add the Palmyra nectar powder and whip a little more to combine. You should have soft caramel-coloured peaks. Very gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mix, about a third at a time. Mix until just combined and do not overmix – it should look like a light chocolate mousse. 7. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 10 minutes, rotate and bake for another 5 minutes. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean, the top should be light but firm to touch, and you should hear air bubbles popping when you touch it. Leave to cool in the tin then demould. 8. To make the ganache, melt the chocolate over a bain-marie (see page 156). Take off the heat and stir in the praline paste. In a small saucepan, warm the hazelnut milk with the honey. When it is warm and the honey has dissolved, gradually pour it over the chocolate, stirring continuously until a thick and glossy emulsion forms. Cover the surface with baking parchment and leave in a cool place for about 1 hour until the cake has completely cooled and the ganache has thickened. Stir the ganache lightly and spread it over the cooled cake using a palette knife (frosting spatula). For a firmer set ganache, just leave it for a little longer. Chop the remaining hazelnuts in half, scatter them over the ganache and serve. This torte is lovely with whipped vanilla coconut cream and keeps for up to five days in the fridge. It freezes well too, with the ganache on top!