Luckily for me, Piemonte is graced with an abundance of one of my favorite nuts - hazelnuts. This gave me the opportunity to make a torta della nocciola, or a hazelnut cake. To make this dessert even more delicious, I found a recipe for a hazelnut and chocolate cake, or torta della nocciola e del cioccolato. The combination of hazelnut and chocolate is amazing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who likes to sit down with a tub of nutella (and what I buy really can be called a tub), a spoon, and a loaf of bread.
Torta della Nocciola e del Cioccolato
Adapted from Diana's Desserts
8 oz hazelnuts
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
8 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1/2 cup superfine sugar
Confectioners' sugar, melted chocolate, etc. for decoration
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Roast and peel the hazelnuts. Put hazelnuts on a shallow pan and put in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until the skin begins to crack. Working with a few nuts at a time, rub with a kitchen cloth to remove skin. If little pieces of skin stay on, don't worry too much about it. It won't kill you or ruin the cake!
- Leave oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 10x2 inch round cake pan.
- In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts. Put in a bowl. Next, pulse the chocolate. Combine with hazelnuts.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of superfine sugar. Beat until light and ribbony.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the other 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the chocolate and nuts into the egg yolks. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.
- Fill the cake pan 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
- Sprinkle with sugar, chocolate or whatever else you would like to decorate it with!
When I made this cake, I only had a 9 x 1 1/2 inch cake pan in my house, so I ended up with some batter left over. I filled up a muffin tin, and made some hazelnut and chocolate muffins as well! Cook the muffins at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes.
Ryan's rating of torta della nocciola e del cioccolato - 3.5 if you don't like hazelnuts (which he doesn't. Inconceivable.) and 4.5 if you do (which, as I've already mentioned at least 10 times, I do!).