My sister asked me to make a chocolatey pudding for a small group of friends she was having over for dinner. Naturally, I asked her what we were eating for main. It was a laid back Italian lasagne and garlic bread feast.
I had a flick through my recipe books and landed upon a Chocolate and Espresso Torte. I thought the coffee and chocolate theme would go well with the Italian menu so decided to give it a go. It is made of three entirely different layers which, stupidly meant I didn't take ANY photos... I had never made a dessert like this and was convinced it would fail so I didn't document the baking process. This, I now regret. Ah well.
I began by making the base. It is essentially a hazelnut biscuit base which you bake for about 15-20 minutes (I ended up baking my for 25 and I think it was bang on....my oven still bemuses me). This base then has to cool totally. Next is the chocolate layer made indulgently of melted mostly dark and some milk chocolate and egg. This then was poured on top of the cooled biscuit base and baked for again (recommended) 20 minutes but I baked mine for 30. I was waiting for (as the recipe asked) a just set consistency with a slight wobble in the middle. 30 minutes was great for my oven.
Again, this had to cool completely and then be topped with the coffee cream! Whisked up a combination of single and double cream and added some fresh extra strong coffee, gelatine and a small amount of icing sugar. This was then poured a top the biscuit and chocolate layers to form the third and final layer. At the time I thought a whole gelatine leaf, rather than 1/2 would have been better but I always stick by the rule of following the recipe to the upmost for the first time.
I allowed it to set over night and crossed my fingers...
Before my sisters friends arrived I removed the dessert from its tin and peeled back the grease proof paper. It stood up! It had clean lines! It was an amazing thing. I sprinkled the remaining toasted (hand skinned....not something I want to repeat) hazelnuts and gingerly took a slice.
I served a slice to everyone and was met with silence - it was a hit! The three elements all came together. The hazelnut biscuit base didn't g soggy but was solid and with bite. The chocolate torte was rich and smooth and the coffee cream was light and fluffy. Oh yes and the crunchy hazelnuts on top too added the final flourish.
It worked! .... Now what shall I try next.