Beautiful, rich, raw and chocolatey! By definition, a torte is a luxury dessert cake made with high-quality ingredients. They come in a variety of flavours – some of my favourites include chocolate torte cake, chocolate mousse torte, and chocolate hazelnut torte with creamy avocado of course. Basically, any torte that is prefixed with ‘chocolate.’
“Chocolate should introduce itself even before you taste it! Like everything else in your pantry, you should start with really good chocolate to make this delectable treat. Really good chocolate should not feel waxy or pasty and should break into clean shards when chopped with a knife or chocolate fork. Always look for the words cocoa butter, cocoa solids, cocoa mass or cocoa liquor on the ingredients list.” This is the advice given by Daphna Rabionvitch, author of “The Baker In Me.” The recipe you use and the type of dessert you’re making will determine what kind of chocolate you should be using.
A mixture of rich and extra smooth dark chocolate made of cocoa butter and 72% cocoa solids, along with non-dairy chocolate chips were used to make this recipe.
What is cocoa powder? Remembering that chocolate liquor is made up of both cocoa solids and cocoa butter, it’s easy to visualize how brittle and unpalatable those cocoa solids would be with the removal of cocoa butter. That is what cocoa powder is made from.
Remember one simple rule, always chop your chocolate before you melt it. Larger pieces take longer to melt, and because the chocolate pieces will melt unevenly, you risk scorching some of the chocolate. The finer you chop the chocolate, the less time it will be exposed to the heat and the more uniformly it will melt.
Torte vs. Cake
Since cakes use the ingredient of flour, they rise when they are baking. This causes them to be fairly tall in height. If it is a multi-layer cake, then the final result will be especially tall. Tortes, however, are almost always much shorter. They average 2-4 inches in height, even with layers.
A traditional cake is made with ingredients mainly consisting of sugar, eggs, butter and flour. A torte, however, calls for little to no flour and the use of ground nuts or breadcrumbs in its place. This change of ingredients causes the torte to be much heavier in both texture and taste. Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients that make up today’s rich dessert.
Sweetener: Maple Syrup
Baked goods sweetened with maple syrup will tend to be denser and moister than those made with granulated sugar. Such is the case with most liquid sweeteners. As a general rule, the denser the syrup, the darker and more concentrated the flavour of the syrup.
Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree and are often used to sweeten up raw, vegan desserts. They’re also good to use to make delicious, chewy energy bars. More health conscious consumers are catching on to the fact that dates can easily be enlisted in cooking and baking to sweeten dishes, sometimes even taking the place of sugar or other artificial sweeteners.
This torte is three layers of fun. My advice, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself when making this dessert is the gift of organization. Prepare your ingredients. Don’t rush. Take time with preparing each step. It’s an extraordinary and magical thing to be able to create a rich, melt in your mouth dessert with less than 10 ingredients (7 to be exact). Enjoy the recipe.
Chocolate Hazelnut Avocado Torte
Beautiful, rich, raw and chocolatey!
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon hazelnuts
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 large avocados
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (plant-based foodies can substitute this with non-dairy chocolate chips, use more as desired)
Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C)
Place 1 cup hazelnut on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 10 minutes. Let them cool, then place inside a clean tea towel folded over onto itself and rub the skins off.
Place the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse them into a coarse meal. Add the dates and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and process until the mixture reaches a sticky, crumbly texture. When pinched between two fingers it should stick together – if it doesn’t it’s too dry – if this is the case, add a tablespoon of water and try again. Press the mixture down into a 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan with a removable base.
Prepare the Filling
Place the remaining cocoa powder, avocado flesh, salt and maple syrup in a food processor and process until smooth. Spoon the chocolate avocado filling onto the crust and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Melt the chocolate/chocolate chips in a sauce pan or microwave and drizzle on top. Chop the remaining tablespoon of hazelnut and sprinkle on top. Refrigerate for an hour, or until ready to serve.
Make sure to have a good food processor!
Recipe credit: Greens 24/7 by Jessica Nadel