Hazelnut Torta


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Given that my favourite programme of all time has been on recently, you’d have thought that rather more baking activity would have been going on here at the Perky Pancake.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, I am of course referring to the Great British Bake Off.

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Well, there has been lots of baking, it’s just that I’ve been a bit slow off the mark to get anything published.  Added to that, I’m also rather behind on GBBO itself which means that after I finish up here I am off to watch the grand finale!  Too exciting for words and no, Friday nights don’t get any more rock and roll than that.

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Today you are in for a treat because a nutty delight is on the menu.  I was recently in Margaret River for a week’s holiday, staying in a stunning house just on Bunker Bay.  The house was made even more fabulous by the fact the owners are clearly cookery lovers as the house was full of Donna Hay and Delicious magazines, not to mention lots of yummy cookbooks.  Holiday reading: tick.  My Kindle was redundant.

It was whilst perusing a Delicious magazine Italian special that I found this recipe for Hazelnut Torta (together with all sorts of other delights inside which I’m dying to cook; risotto style spaghetti vongole being top of the list…).

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Anyway, back to the baking.  This torta is a perfect dinner party dessert and made in a 26cm dish makes enough to feed 10 people easily.  The original recipe stipulates a 22cm tart pan so you’d end up with a chunkier torta but for me the thinner version was perfect.  Well, it had to be as I don’t own a 22cm dish, but regardless, I’d still recommend it!

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The torta is chock full of hazelnuts with a hint of lemon and light, fluffy cake surrounding it.  Served with some ice-cream and fresh fruit it’s a great end to a meal.

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I haven’t tried it yet, but I think swapping in the lemon for some orange and adding some grated chocolate would make a delicious variation too (if you’ll excuse the pun…!).

This time last year: Vietnamese Noodle Salad
This time 2 years ago: Mango & Coconut Rice Salad
This time 3 years ago: Ken Hom’s Sichuan Prawns in Chilli Sauce

Hazelnut Torta

From Delicious Magazine
Serves 8-10

250g hazelnuts
220g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated, plus 1 extra yolk
125g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
100g self raising flour
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Icing sugar to serve

To make:
    1. Preheat the oven to 180°c/160°c fan/350°f/gas mark 4.  Grease a 22cm tart pan* (don’t use a loose bottomed one as the filling will fall out!).
    2. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 8 minutes, turning a couple of times during this time.  Tip into a clean tea towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins.  Put aside a few whole nuts for the topping and chop the rest into small pieces – don’t worry if you have some bigger bits, it all adds to the texture.
    3. Beat the caster sugar and 4 egg yolks in an electric mixer for 8-10 minutes until thick and pale.  Add the butter, flour, lemon zest and 200g hazelnuts then beat until well combined.
    4. Place the egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.  Carefully fold through the hazelnut batter until just combined.
    5. Pour the batter into the tart pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until firm.
    6. Lightly beat the remaining egg yolk then brush onto the torta.  Sprinkle with the remaining whole and chopped nuts.  Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes until the nuts are slightly browned and a skewer inserted into the centre of the torta comes out clean.
    7. Cool the torta completely in the pan.  Dust with icing sugar (I completely forgot this bit!) and serve.

* If you use a 22cm tart pan cut the cooking time in step 5 down to 25 minutes and then just 5 minutes for step 6.

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