When we had a family weekend in Rome a couple of years ago for my Dad’s 60th birthday, the boutique B&B in Trastevere we were staying in served this incredible flourless chocolate torte everyday for breakfast. Yes, for breakfast. It was the kind that’s cracked on top, gooey in the middle and chewy round the edges. The kind dreams are made of. Every day I went to breakfast convinced that would be the day I would resist. Every day the battle of the wills commenced, with Team Boring shouting ‘EAT THE FRUIT! Think of your waistline!’ and Team Awesome about 10 decibels louder – ‘Don’t be stupid..look at the cake. LOOK AT IT!’ Resistance was futile. Cake was consumed on a daily basis. I asked for the recipe at the time and owner of the B&B wrote it down for me. I promptly lost it of course, so now all I can do is dream about the flourless chocolate torte that got away. Part of me felt this was probably for the best…but then I discovered this recipe thanks to one of my favourite food blogs, Thyme and Honey (thanks Gabriella…I think..). I made this for my friend’s birthday, two days in advance and wrapped it in tin foil to keep it fresh. I was worried it might have been dry, but oh how I was wrong. I served it with a hot chocolate sauce, but roasted pears or just a sprinkling of icing sugar would work too.
Chocolate, ginger and pear torte with hot chocolate sauce
Ingredients For the torte (serves 8-10) – 1 pear, peeled and cored and cut into about 12 slices – 250g unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for the tin – Cocoa for dusting – 350g dark chocolate, chopped – 2 tbsp Ginger wine – 140g caster sugar – 100g light muscovado sugar – 5 eggs separated – 75g ground almonds – 1 heaped tsp ground ginger – 1 heaped tbsp ginger preserve For the chocolate sauce – 100g dark chocolate, chopped – 40g unsalted butter – 100ml cream – I used double but either will do – 1.5 tbsp golden syrup Method Heat the oven to 170C/150C fan oven/gas 3-4. Butter and line a 23cm springform tin with a disk of buttered baking parchment. Lightly dust the inside of the tin with cocoa and tip out. Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl, add the ginger wine and set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Tip both the sugars into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer and add the egg yolks and stir until smooth. With another large bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they just hold a stiff peak Sift the almonds and ginger into the chocolate mixture and fold in using a large metal spoon. Add one-third of the egg whites and stir in to loosen the mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites until combined Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin and gently spread level. Gently warm the ginger preserve until it’s just spreadable and carefully spoon onto the cake in small dollops. Spoon over the remaining chocolate mixture, spread level and add the sliced pears in a circular pattern on top. Bake just below the middle shelf of the oven for 50 mins-1 hr until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with a moist crumb attached. Allow the cake to cool in the tin and don’t be dismayed if the top sinks and cracks. To make the chocolate sauce melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Add the butter and golden syrup and stir a couple of times until melted and combined with the chocolate. Add the cream and store until fully incorporated.
Torte recipe adapted from BBC Good Food