I never use nuts in my chocolate desserts. I wouldn't dare put them in our chewy chocolate chunk cookies or in our brownies. Call me nutty, but I like to keep our chocolate desserts pure and simple.
The one nut I'll make an exception for is the macadamia nut. I love the richness and creaminess of this nut. As I was flipping through some cookbooks, I stumbled upon Jamie Oliver's two-nuts chocolate torte recipe, which uses almonds and walnuts.
The recipe looked simple enough, so I used it with a few changes. The first modification was substituting macadamia nuts for the almonds and walnuts. When I walked to the local supermarket, the only macadamia nuts available were roasted and salted nuts. I figured it would be okay, since most cake recipes ask for around a teaspoon of salt. Since macadamia nuts are higher in fat content than almonds and walnuts, I cut the amount of butter. The final change was the addition of vanilla extract to enhance the chocolate flavor.
Jamie's recipe uses a 375°F baking temperature for "about 1 hour." Hmm... that seems too long at 375°F. After over-baking a couple of desserts, I've become very conscience of oven temperatures and times. I have also discovered my old oven runs 25 degrees hotter than indicated by using an oven thermometer.
With some skepticism, I threw the torte in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. After 35 minutes, the wonderful aroma of chocolate baking was interrupted by a burning smell. I immediately removed the torte out of the oven. The inside was fine, but the bottom edges were very slightly burnt. Damn it, Jamie! I knew the baking time was too long.
Luckily, the torte was saved just in the nick of time. Despite the over-baked edges, the torte was still good, with a nice nutty chocolate flavor. The texture is moist, dense and a little crunchy from the macadamia nuts. I will definitely make this torte again, but use a lower baking temperature of 350°F. 375°F for "about 1 hour"... bullocks!
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Torte Recipe
11 ounces salted macadamia nuts, ground
11 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 heaped teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
8 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom of an 8 to 10-inch springform pan with a piece of parchment paper before buttering the bottom and sides then dust with flour.
2) Place the nuts into a food processor and pulse until ground and set aside. Be careful not to over-process or you'll make macadamia butter. Add the chocolate and cocoa to processor and pulse for 30 seconds to break up the chocolate and set aside with nuts. Add the butter and sugar to the food processor and beat until pale and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat the egg yolks in one at a time. Then by hand mix together with the chocolate and nuts.
3) In another bowl beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate, butter and nut mix. Pour all the mixture into the cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. To test if the torte is cooked, insert a toothpick or the tip of a knife for 5 seconds; when removed it should be reasonably clean. Transfer to wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, ice-cream or powdered sugar.
[Recipe adapted from The Naked Chef Takes Off by Jamie Oliver]
[tags]chocolate, macadamia, nut, torte, valrhona, semisweet[/tags]