When most of think of Valentine’s Day, we think of chocolate. (Some of us think of chocolate all the time. . .) And thank goodness science has finally confirmed what some of us have known for years: dark chocolate is good for us. It has antioxidants. It makes us feel happy. It’s even good for our hearts.
That said, this dessert qualifies as one of the most decadently delicious chocolate indulgences ever: a moist chocolate torte coated with a glossy dark chocolate glaze. Make it for someone you love this Valentine’s Day.
1/2 cup hazelnuts
6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
5 eggs, separated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
9 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
To make the torte:
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour a round 9-inch springform cake pan.
2. Spread the 1/2 cup of hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in preheated oven around 6 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove nuts from oven and rub them while still warm with a kitchen towel to remove most of their skins. Set aside.
3. Place chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring often, until chocolate melts, then remove from heat.
4. In a food processor, pulse toasted hazelnuts and sugar until finely ground. Add this to the melted chocolate mixture and stir until blended. Allow to cool. When cooled, add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Sift flour and cocoa together into a bowl, then stir into chocolate mixture. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Fold one-fourth of the whites into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula to lighten it. Fold in remaining egg whites, combining until no white streaks remain. Pour into prepared pan.
6. Bake 35 to 40 minutes in preheated 375F oven until a cake tester or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool, still in the pan, on a wire rack.
To make the glaze
1. In the bowl of a double boiler over simmering water, combine chocolate, butter, and corn syrup, stirring often, until chocolate melts. Remove from heat and stir until smooth, then allow to cool, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
2. Invert the torte on the rack set over a baking sheet and lift off the springform pan. Pour on the glaze, tilting the torte so the top and sides are completely coated. Allow the glaze to stop dripping. Place the 12 hazelnuts decoratively around the top of the cake. Transfer the torte to a serving plate.
Inspired by Winter: Recipes Inspired by Nature’s Bounty, by Joanne Weir (Time Life Books, 1997).