It's Pi Day! It also happens to be a massive snow day here in NYC, and I couldn't imagine a better way to warm up during a blizzard than to crank up the oven. While I woke up with thoughts of golden bread loaves and slurpy slow-cooked soup, this chocolate hazelnut torte is officially making it's way onto my day's agenda.
This nutty, unexpected pie is the perfect backup dessert for any season, it fits just as well with warm winter stews and days spent with a cat snuggled in your lap as it does with a pile of spring greens and summer fruits while sunbeams stream through the window. Chocolate, it's seasonless. It also happens to be a big weakness in my family (I don't think the Lessler's are alone in this regard) so watch out, this pie might disappear fast. Thankfully it's a pretty straightforward one to whip up and you probably have the majority of the ingredients hanging out in your pantry already. Even in a blizzard, a skip down to the bodega for hazelnuts is not out of the question.
OK I'm going to stop writing about pie now and go do that. I just need to thank the beautiful, talented recipe writer; that French girl Marie who brought us peach almond pie in the summertime is 100% responsible for this delectable treat. Just remember, she's just about as good at following recipes as I am (which is pretty bad, for the record) so take these measurements with a grain of, er, salt, and feel free to adjust as you see fit. Bon Appétit!
Chocolate Hazelnut Torte
Prep time: 60 minutes. Cook time: 30 minutes.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 6 oz dark chocolate (75% - 100%) - you can sub up to half of this with cacao or cocoa powder if you're running short on chocolate chips/baking chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp coconut oil (cold, slightly solid)
- 2-6 tbsp ice water
- Grind 1/2 of the hazelnuts in a blender until powdered. Add flour, hazelnut powder and 1/2 of the sugar to a large mixing bowl and incorporate.
- Add 2 tbsp coconut oil and iced water, adding one tbsp at a time as you mix with a wooden spoon. Dough should form, smooth but a little crumbly. Roll into a ball and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Once cooled, roll out as much as possible before pressing dough into the pie dish. Heat oven to 350*F.
- Prepare a double boiler by placing a smaller pot inside of a larger one, 1/3 full of water. As the water in the bottom pot boils, the smaller pot will float without touching the bottom of the larger pot. Add chocolate, vanilla and 1 tbsp coconut oil to the small pot and let melt.
- When chocolate is 1/2 melted, add remaining sugar and maple syrup, stirring as you go. Remove from heat just before all of the chocolate is melted and stir vigorously until smooth (or as smooth as you can get).
- Add remaining hazelnuts, roughly chopped, to the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.
- Add chocolate mixture to the crust, even out with a spatula, then top with more chopped hazelnut pieces.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the center of the pie settles and the crust is browned.
- Let cool for 20 minutes, then slice and serve with a generous helping of Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island vegan ice cream! This torte is even better served cold the next day.