Yes, more chocolate. “Oops”. I’ll explain.
I recently received an email from the lovely Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows genius, asking me if I’d like to take a look at her just-released cookbook. It was not surprising to discover a world of truly spectacular and inspiring vegan recipes, just like on her blog, so when she asked me if I would like to post a recipe from the book here on My New Roots, of course I jumped at the chance. Although there were countless delicious-looking dishes to choose from, one dessert really stood out to me: the Chocolate Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust. Guh. Hold me back. I am a tired mummy with a very apparent chocolate predilection, so please find it in your heart to forgive me, please? I know, that was a hard one.
Angela’s creativity and culinary prowess really comes through in this dessert. Instead of dairy products, the luxuriously smooth and rich chocolate torte uses cashews to mimic cream, and geniusly doubles as freezer fudge if you are “not in the mood” to make crust, as she puts it. It is incredibly chocolaty and decadent, using only maple syrup as a sweetener. And although I have never been a coffee drinker, I do appreciate the taste of coffee, and the flavour of it in this dessert is actually very subtle, functioning more as an enhancer of the chocolate. I’m all for that. If you do not want to use espresso, it’s fine to leave it out. Just a plain chocolate version of this would be divine.
This dessert is fantastic. Like, seriously. If you make it for a group of people, you will have friends for life, and if you make it for yourself you will be enjoying slivers of silky smooth chocolate bliss for a days on end. Because you store the torte in the freezer and take it out just before serving, you can keep it for a very long time, providing you can exercise some serious restraint. I was able to ration this thing out over a couple weeks (see friends, I do have some self-control).
If you don’t have a high-speed blender, this recipe will still work and be delicious, but the filling will not be as smooth as if you use something like a Vitamix or Blendtec.
Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust
Makes 1 (9-inch / 23-cm) torte; serves 8–14
For the crust:
¾ cup / 100g hazelnuts
¼ cup / 60ml coconut oil
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 ½ cups / 150g rolled oats, divided, gluten-free if necessary
For the filling:
1 ½ cups / 200g cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
¾ cup / 175 ml pure maple syrup
½ cup / 125 ml coconut oil
1/3 cup / 30g cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
1/3 cup / 75 ml dark chocolate chips, melted (I used chopped dark chocolate)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used seeds of ½ vanilla bean)
½ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
½ tsp. espresso powder (optional)
shaved dark chocolate, for garnish (optional)
coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)
1. Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish with coconut oil.
2. In a food processor, blend ½ cup of the rolled oats on high until you have a rough flour, place a small bowl and set aside. Without cleaning the machine, process the hazelnuts into a fine crumb with the texture of sand. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add the remaining 1 cup of rolled oats and pulse until the oats are chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together slightly when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t, try adding a bit more maple syrup or processing a bit longer.
3. With your fingers, crumble the dough evenly over the base of the pie dish. Starting from the middle, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the dish, moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish. The harder you press the crumbs into the dish, the better the crust will hold together. Poke a few fork holes into the bottom to let steam escape.
4. Bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Make the filling: Drain and rinse the cashews. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashews, maple syrup, oil, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt, and espresso powder (if using) and blend on high until the filling is completely smooth. It can take a few minutes of blending to get it smooth, depending on your blender. If the blender needs more liquid to get it going, add a tablespoon (15 mL) of almond milk (or a bit more) to help it along.
6. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, smoothing out the top evenly. Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or coconut flakes, if desired.
7. Place the pie dish on an even surface in the freezer, uncovered. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then cover the dish with foil and freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, until the pie sets.
8. Remove the pie from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before slicing. This pie is meant to be served frozen. Serve with Sarah’s Simple Cashew Cream (recipe below) and finely chopped chocolate, if desired, but it’s fantastic all on its own, too. Wrap leftover slices individually in foil and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 to 1½ weeks.
Tip: Not in the mood to make a crust? Turn this dessert into freezer fudge by preparing only the chocolate filling. Pour the filling into an 8-inch (20-cm) square pan lined with plastic wrap; top with ½ cup / 65g toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, and freeze until solid (about 2 hours). Slice into squares and enjoy straight from the freezer.
Sarah’s Simple Cashew Cream
½ cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
4 Tbsp. water
a couple pinches sea salt
1. Soak cashews. Drain and rinse.
2. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix) and blend on high until completely smooth. Salt and/or sweeten to taste. Store in the fridge.
Huge thanks to Angela for blessing us with not only this incredible recipe, but an entire book filled with vegan delights that will inspire anyone who picks up a copy. Her warmth, wisdom and kitchen creativity shines through on every page, showing us all that healthy food can be astoundingly delicious!
Get your copy of the Oh She Glows cookbook here.