The first time I heard about this super rich Italian dessert was a few years ago when I was discussing baking with an Italian colleague from Sicily. As a chocolate lover, I was very intrigued. But, there aren’t too many recipes online and I certainly couldn’t find any in my stash of recipe books.
So, I was ecstatic when I saw this recipe used in a technical challenge in the recent Great British Bake Off. And boy, I have new found respect for the bake off contestants! This is not an easy recipe, especially when you are given only a few hours to get everything done.
Making this at home means taking my time and doing it one component at a time. It also means using the praline paste and mirror glaze ever present in my fridge. 😝 Seeing this picture made me wish I took that extra 10 minutes to give the mirror glaze a good whizz with the hand blender. Still, I was pretty pleased with the red streak. Makes me think I should be practising my mirror glaze more often.
For the génoise sponge
65g plain flour
90g caster sugar
3 large eggs
15g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
1) Preheat the oven to 170°C fan.
2) Grease a 16cm cake ring and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
3) Sift together the flour and cocoa powder three times until well combined.
4) Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until thick and pale.
5) In 5 additions, sift in the flour mixture then gently fold it into the egg mixture.
6) Scoop two tablespoon of mixture into the melted butter, whisk to combine then fold it back into the batter.
7) Pour the mixture into the prepared cake ring and bake for about 25 minutes, until risen and springy to the touch.
8) Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Then, turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the sugar syrup
40g caster sugar
1/2 tbsp hazelnut liqueur
1) Tip the sugar into a small pan.
2) Add 40g of water in a pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then, boil until reduced by half to a syrup consistency.
3) Remove from the heat and add the hazelnut liqueur. Set aside.
For the hazelnut bavarois
3 gelatine leaves
50g heavy cream
90g praline paste
2 large egg yolks
50g caster sugar
225g heavy cream
1) Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft.
2) Pour the milk and cream into a pan and heat until just under boiling point.
3) Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and creamy.
4) Temper the eggs with the hot cream and whisk together to a custard.
5) Return the custard to the pan and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.
6) Drain the gelatine, squeezing out any excess moisture and stir it into the custard until it dissolves.
7) Strain the custard through a fine sieve then stir in the praline paste. Cool to room temperature.
8) Whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold it into the cooled custard, one third at a time. Set aside.
250g + 300g
For the praline layer
33g dark chocolate couverture
13g unsalted butter
85g praline paste
1) Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.
2) Add the praline paste and stir until smooth.
3) Remove from the heat and add the feuilletine. Set aside.
For the chocolate mousse
200g heavy cream
75g dark chocolate couverture
1) Pour 75g of the heavy cream into a small pan and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from heat.
2) Add 1/3 of the chocolate, allow to sit for a minute and stir until smooth. Repeat with the other two third of the chocolates. Leave to cool to room temperature.
3) Meanwhile whisk the remaining 125g of cream to soft peaks and fold into the cooled ganache.
1) Line the sides of a 7-inch cake ring with acetate.
2) Trim the sponge flat and then slice the sponge in half horizontally. Place one slice in the bottom of the cake tin and brush with half of the sugar syrup.
3) Spoon the praline layer over the sponge and smooth with a palette knife.
4) Then, ladle over half of the hazelnut bavarois. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
5) Place the second slice of sponge over the set bavarois and brush with the remaining sugar syrup.
6) Ladle over the remaining bavarois, then freeze for 45 minutes.
7) Remove the torta from the freezer and cover it evenly with a thin layer of chocolate mousse.
8) Return to the freezer overnight.
9) The next day, remove the frozen torta and place on a wire rack set over a baking tray. Slowly pour the glaze over the top and sides of the torta, to coat. Here a use a dollop of red glaze to smooth over the chocolate glaze before it set.