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Mocha Hazelnut Torte
Emily Luchetti - Stars, San Francisco
Chocolatier Feb/Mar 1994
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 scant cup (4 ounces) roasted hazelnuts *
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
3/4 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Espresso pastry cream:
8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons ground espresso
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
Vanilla custard sauce:
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 ounces white chocolate
1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
* Note: To roast hazelnuts, position a rack in the center of the
oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and
roast for 8 to 12 minutes, until golden beneath their skins. Wrap the nuts in a clean
towel and cool completely. Transfer the nuts to a sieve and rub them to remove the skins.
Make the chocolate genoise:
1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Line a 17 1/2-inch by 11 1/2-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Place coarsely chopped chocolate and butter in the top of a
double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Melt the mixture, stirring until smooth.
(Chocolate that has been overheated may scorch, lose flavor and turn coarse and grainy.)
Stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside until ready to use.
3. Sift together the cake flour and the baking powder and set
4. In the 4 1/2-quart bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, using a hand-held
wire whisk, combine the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Set the bowl over a barely simmering
water bath, whisking constantly until the mixture is very warm but not hot, about 2 to 3
minutes. Attach the bowl to the mixer stand with the wire whip attachment, and beat the
egg/sugar mixing bowl on high speed until it is very thick and holds a ribbon, about 3
minutes. With a large rubber spatula, gently but quickly fold the sifted flour into the
egg mixture in two batches. Fold in the reserved chocolate mixture.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with
an offset metal spatula. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cake springs back lightly
when touched. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen, then invert the cake to
loosen, then invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool. Remove the paper from the bottom of
Make the hazelnut meringue:
6. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F.
17 1/2-inch by 11 1/2-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Draw an
8-inch square onto
the paper. Set aside.
7. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade,
process the hazelnuts, powdered sugar and flour until the nuts are finely ground.
8. In a dry, grease-free 4 1/2-quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric
mixer with the wire whip attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks
begin to form, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar to the whites and continue beating
on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Do
9. With a large rubber spatula, gently and quickly fold the ground
hazelnuts into the beaten whites, one third at a time. Glue the corners of the parchment
paper onto the prepared baking pan with dabs of the meringue mixture. Scrape the meringue
mixture onto the paper within the outline of the 8-inch square. With an offset metal
spatula, spread the meringue evenly to fill the square. Bake the meringue for about 35
minutes, until it is light brown and no longer wet. Set aside to cool.
Make the espresso pastry cream:
10. In a large stainless steel bowl, vigorously whisk the egg
yolks, sugar and salt until pale yellow and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface
when the whisk is lifted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch.
11. In a medium saucepan bring the milk to a boil, then remove it
from the heat. Using a wire whisk, slowly incorporate the hot milk into the beaten
egg/sugar mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, whisking
constantly for 5 to 7 minutes, until thick and creamy. When the mixture just returns to a
boil, immediately remove the pan from the heat and scrape the pastry cream into a bowl to
stop the cooking process.
12. Stir in the butter and the ground espresso. Set the bowl over
an ice bath and stir occasionally until the pastry cream has cooled. Place a piece of
plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.
Refrigerate until well chilled.
Make the chocolate ganache:
13. Place the chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, whisk
together the cream and the crème fraîche and bring to a simmer. Remove the cream from the
heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds to soften the chocolate, then
gently whisk until smooth.
Make the vanilla custard sauce:
14. In a large stainless steel mixing bowl whisk together the egg
yolks, sugar and salt until creamy. Set aside.
15. In a medium saucepan bring the milk to a boil. Remove the pan
from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Using a wire whisk, slowly incorporate the
hot milk into the egg mixture. Set the bowl over a simmering water bath and cook the
custard, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it begins to thicken, about 5
minutes. It is done when you can run your finger down the back of the sauce-coated spoon
and a path remains in the sauce for several seconds. Do not boil. Set the custard sauce
over an ice bath to cool. Strain and refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce can be made
up to 2 days in advance.
Assemble the torte:
16. Cut the chocolate génoise into two 8-inch squares. Spread
the pastry cream over one of the chocolate cake squares. Trim the hazelnut meringue so
that all the edges are straight. Place the hazelnut meringue on top of the cream. Spread
the remaining pastry cream over the meringue. Place the second square of chocolate cake on
top. Using a small offset metal spatula, cover the top layer of the cake with the
17. Melt the white, milk, and dark chocolates each separately.
Place coarsely chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering,
water. Melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. (Chocolate that has been overheated may
scorch, lose flavor and turn coarse and grainy. Stir melting chocolate after it has begun
to liquefy. Because of the sensitivity of milk solids to heat, milk and white chocolates
should be stirred almost constantly while dark chocolate need only be stirred frequently
18. Using a pastry bag fitted with a small tip, or with a fork,
drizzle the melted white and milk chocolates over the top of the torte. Refrigerate for
several hours or until firm.
19. To serve, allow the torte to temper slightly so that you can
cut easily through the ganache topping. With a serrated knife, cut the torte into
twenty-five 1 1/2-inch squares. Place some vanilla custard sauce on each plate. Drizzle some
of the bittersweet chocolate in the custard sauce and then place 3 squares of the torte on
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