Chilled Chocolate-Espresso Torte w/ Toasted Hazelnut Crust
This is a crowd-pleasing chocolate dessert that will win over any chocolate fan. Reminiscent of Nutella, my toasted hazelnut crust is the perfect nutty complement to the rich and creamy chocolate filling. No one will believe this torte is dairy-free and many will go back for seconds despite their best intentions. If you want a showstopping dessert that will wow a crowd, this is your recipe. Be sure to soak the cashews overnight, or for at least 3 to 4 hours, so they’re ready when you need them.
- For the toasted hazelnut crust:
- PREP TIME: 30 to 35 minutes
- FREEZE TIME: 4 to 6 hours minimum, but preferably overnight
- SERVINGS: 8-14, makes 1 9-inch/23-cm torte
- 3/4 c (175 mL) hazelnuts
- 1/4 c (60 mL) coconut oil
- 3 Tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) fine-grain sea salt
- 1/2 c (125 mL) gluten-free oat flour
- 1 c (250 mL) gluten-free rolled oats
- For the chocolate filling:
- 1 1/2 c (375 mL) cashews, soaked
- 2/3 c (150 mL) agave nectar, or 3/4 c (175 mL) pure maple syrup
- 1/2 c (125 mL) coconut oil
- 1/3 c (75 mL) cocoa powder
- 1/3 c (75 mL) dark chocolate chips, melted
- 2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) fine-grain sea salt
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) espresso powder (optional)
- Shaved chocolate (optional)
- Coconut flakes (optional)
Preparation time 30mins
1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23-cm) pie dish with coconut oil.
2. PROCESS hazelnuts in a food processor into a fine crumb the texture of sand. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and oat flour, and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add 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, but it shouldn’t be super sticky either. If it’s too dry, try adding 1 tsp (5 mL) water or processing a bit longer.
3. CRUMBLE dough evenly with your fingers 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 crust, uncovered, for 10 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. TO MAKE THE FILLING: Drain and rinse cashews. In a high-speed blender, combine cashews, agave, 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 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of almond milk (or a bit more) to help it along.
6. POUR filling into the prepared crust, scooping every last bit out of the blender. Smooth the top evenly. Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or coconut flakes, if desired.
7. PLACE pie dish on an even surface in the freezer, uncovered. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then cover dish with foil and freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, until the pie sets.
8. REMOVE 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 whipped coconut cream and finely chopped hazelnuts, if desired, but it’s fantastic all on its own, too. Wrap leftover slices individually in foil and store 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 (125 mL) toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, and freeze until solid (about 2 hours). Slice into squares and enjoy straight from the freezer.
NUTRITION (per serving) 384 cal, 6 g pro, 35 g carb, 3 g fiber, 22 g sugars, 27 g fat, 14.5 g sat fat, 102 mg sodium