Well, I should say almost Flourless Chocolate Torte. This is a recipe I have been serving (and tweaking) over many years. I know some recipes just can't and/or shouldn't be tampered with, but I felt challenged to try to make this one just a tad healthier if possible as the original recipe calls for nearly two sticks of butter. Some attempts didn't turn out too well, but this one is a real keeper! The texture and flavor hold their own next to the traditional version, as I think the photograph above nicely demonstrates...well, at least the texture part. You'll have to take my word for the flavor bit (deep, intense chocolatey wonderfulness). It's also an easy recipe to throw together, although requires a long cooling off in the fridge to firm up, so plan ahead. The end result is one that you can feel good about making, serving and eating. Now you can have your Flourless Chocolate Torte, and eat it too!
Although not the prettiest of cakes straight out of the oven....
...it dresses up nicely!
Dark chocolate and nuts have many health benefits. Featured with the rest of the ingredients in a sensible portion size (this is really a two-person slice at our house...a little piece goes a long way), not only are they good for you, the flavor combination is divine. You could leave the ground nuts out if you prefer, but I think a layer of flavor would be lost (and missed) and you'd be missing out on the health benefits as well. They also add some richness and complexity to the dense and moist texture of this torte. Hazelnuts would be equally delectable. And, if you think you are not a dark chocolate fan, think again, as the sharp edge to the chocolate bakes out, leaving behind simple, chocolatey goodness.
Although truly delicious all by itself, whipped cream, ice cream, caramel, berry compote, or any number of favorite dessert foux-foux would pair nicely with the torte. I dusted the whipped cream with espresso powder, which provides an interesting foil to the chocolate flavor. The espresso powder called for in the torte helps boost the chocolate intensity without really adding any coffee flavor (a trick I learned years ago from Maide Heatter's books). The walnut oil, also heart-healthy, adds some moisture and deepens that rich, walnut flavor. You can find walnut oil in almost every grocery store, Whole Foods, or online. I love all the choices that are available now in oils and often substitute a portion of a complimentary oil for some of the fat called for in a recipe, with excellent results.
I love the simple flavors that shine through--chocolate, toasted nuts, and enough butter to keep things authentic (believe it or not, almost half from the original recipe has been substituted out). This recipe meets my very high standards for flavor, and has just the right balance of decadence and better-for-you-deliciousness. Why make it, or eat it, if it doesn't taste really good? I've served this torte for special occasions and for 'everyday' weekend meals and it is equally adored by all. My very picky teenage boys love it...do we need more of a testimonial? It has become a staple of the dessert repertoire at our house, and is often requested. It keeps very well in the refrigerator too (if you actually have any left overs).
So, let's review: fairly easy to throw together, oodles of chocolate flavor, lovely texture (did I mention the insane chocolate flavor?), better-for-you-delicious, and universally adored. What's not to love?
Almost Flourless Chocolate Torte
8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (do not use margarine)
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cup organic cane sugar, divided
2 teaspoons espresso powder
5 large eggs, preferably free range
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted and cooled completely, and chopped into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut a parchment circle for an 8 or 9-inch springform pan.
Grind the toasted and cooled walnut pieces in a food processor with 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. In a large bowl, melt the chocolate, butter and oil together. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well to incorporate each egg. Mix in the nut/sugar/flour mixture, and add the espresso powder. Pour into the parchment-lined springform pan and bake approximately 20 to 25 minutes until set in the middle. Do not overbake. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a blunt knife or spatula along the edge of the pan to loosen the edge. Cool completely in the pan, at least 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, remove the outer ring, invert onto a plate, remove the parchment paper, and invert back onto a serving plate or dish. Garnish as desired.