Chocolate nut torte with cherry meringue ice cream

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Rosana McPhee's entry for this year's Godiva Chocolate Challenge is a stunning dark chocolate and hazelnut torte, with a touch of pink provided by the heavenly cherry and meringue ice cream.

First published in 2015

With autumn comes an even greater desire to eat chocolate. Considered a food of the Gods, chocolate is actually a delicacy that exerts a fascination in people: the texture and flavour awaken the senses and provoke emotions. Do not worry, chocolate is not the villain in your diet that some make out - it is also full of nutrients, and of course happiness and pleasure are always good for you.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from rich chocolate desserts and cakes from my childhood. Loaded with delicious high-end couverture chocolate this recipe is certainly going to bring happiness. I love the contrast of the sourness of the amarena cherries, crunchy meringue and the suitable sweetness and nuttiness of the chocolate torte.




Chocolate nut torte

Cherry ice cream



Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1
Start by preparing the meringue. Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Start whisking on low speed, increasing to a higher speed once the whites begin to double in size
Gradually add the sugar, in tablespoonfuls, whisking all the time
When all of the sugar has been added, you will have a gorgeously glossy white meringue mixture. Test the mixture - if still grainy, carry on mixing until smooth. If you leave it grainy, when it goes into the oven, the meringues will leak sugar syrup during baking
Spoon the mix into circles marked on nonstick baking paper on a baking sheet, using a table knife to make gentle swirls
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool overnight in the oven. Crush into small pieces and reserve in a container with a tight lid
To make the ice cream, heat the milk and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat and add the vanilla seeds and pod. Let it steep for 20 minutes. Reserve
Prepare an ice bath by setting a large bowl, enough to hold 2 litres of liquid, over a larger bowl partially filled with ice cubes and water. Set a strainer over the top bowl and set aside
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and the sugar has dissolved. Gradually pour the warmed milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly
Pour the mixture back into the same saucepan you used to warm the milk. Cook for 5 minutes or until it reaches 80°C, constantly stirring until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon
Strain the custard into the top bowl of the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Add the double cream and stir over the ice bath until cool. Cover the mixture tightly with cling film and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight
When the ice cream base is completely chilled, place in an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions
Meanwhile, drain the cherries and pour the syrup in a small pan with the cherry powder and cook slowly over low heat until the powder dissolves. Set aside
Cut the cherries in half and reserve. When the ice cream has almost finished churning, stop the machine and add the syrup, the chopped cherries and the crumbled meringue, reserving some of the meringue for decoration. Continue to churn the ice cream until ready
Place the ice cream in a container and let it freeze overnight. Take out of the fridge 10 minutes before serving
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Prepare a 25cm cake tin by lining with baking paper, greasing with butter and finally dusting with cocoa powder. Do not use a springform or loose-bottomed tin for this, as you will be baking the torte in a bain marie
Make the simple syrup by dissolving 200g of the sugar in 200ml of water over a medium heat. Set aside
Meanwhile, melt together the chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside until needed
Beat the eggs with the rest of sugar until pale and quadrupled in volume, for about 10 minutes, then add the sugar syrup, melted chocolate and butter mix, coffee, a pinch of salt and the flour. Carefully fold the nuts and kirsch into the mixture
Place the mixture in the prepared cake tin and set the tin in a deep roasting tray. Top up the tray with water until it comes to just below the top of the pan - this will help it cook evenly. Cook until firm, for approximately 45-50 minutes
Allow to cool down completely before removing the torte from the tin. Dust with cocoa powder and decorate with cherries and serve with the cherry ice cream topped with some crushed meringue
First published in 2015

Brazilian food and travel blogger, living in London.

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