Thursday, 6 December 2012

Chocolate and hazelnut torte (raw)

I was in France this Autumn when I came up with this little recipe. It was Caspar's and my farewell party, we'd been visiting his family for the past 3 months and our time was coming to an end. We invited all our beautiful 'French' friends (mostly expats from the Uk) and I spent a few hours cooking. Caspar: " Don't go over board Anthea, we fly out early tomorrow" but I can't help it sometimes, I just get
on a roll. Most of these people don't even know what raw is and many of them have come to know me and through me, what veganism is all about and how delicious it can be! 

So we had a feast of raw dips & crudite, raw macadamia cheeze platters, many rounds of assorted canapes and finally for dessert the hazelnut torte. Now some of these people are in the 70's and many have lived in France for some time so are probably most likely used to French patisserie style cakes but they absolutely loved it. One older lady who's a great cook herself cheekily asked me if she could take some for her guest for her dinner party the next night, so then she wouldn't have to make a dessert! Why not I thought, share the love! 

I set out wanting to make something light and raw that resembled a hazelnut chocolate torte (cooked). So I went about creating a light hazelnut meal 'flour'. Hazelnut can be quite strong in flavour so I softened them with their more neutral cousins, almonds. If you can used dehydrated nuts, this recipes is all the lighter. Using only a little cacoa butter and coconut oil to bind, especially when you have dates for sweetness and sticky binding-ness, it makes it all the lighter and not too fatty and heavy.

What a beautiful ago old marriage hazelnut and chocolate are. The rich smokey flavour of hazelnuts with the sweet and bitter notes of chocolate and dates. I love the texture of this torte, it's so light, almost crumbly. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and our 'French' friends.

Makes approximately = 1x 18cm diameter tin (small spring form cake tin)

 2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup cacao powder
3 tbs coconut oil
1/3 cup cacao butter
1/3 cup agave or maple syrup
1 cup Californian dates, pitted (approximately 10 large fresh dates)
pinch of good salt
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp cinnamon

Process the nuts together until they resemble a fine meal but in no way nut buttery or oily. 

Add dates and process until they are mixed through but again not over mixed or blended. Add remaining ingredients and combine until it's all fully mixed. 

Line a cake tin with baking paper. cut out a circle for the base and longs strips for the sides. Because this cake isn't tall, the paper strips don't have to be too wide, 2-3 inches high is plenty.

Then tumble the mixture into the the tin and evenly distribute. Pat is down gently and press into the edges. 

Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until ready to serve and when ready to serve dust with raw cacoa powder. You can also mix this with cinnamon for a more 'earthy' flavour. 

Cut into thin wedges (12-16 pieces), it's rich and delightful and 16 pieces feels like it will last forever… Stores well in an airtight container. The question is how long can it really last?!

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