Chocolate Brandy Hazelnut Torte
Credit: Meredith HeuerSERVES 12
For the sauce, Peirano uses fresh raspberries when they are in season; the rest of the year he relies on thawed frozen purée.
For the torte:
8 oz. quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2I cups hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
22 firm ladyfingers or other similar sweet biscuits, broken into small pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brandy
For the sauce:
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
For the whipped cream:
1 cup, heavy cream chilled
2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1. For the torte: Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler set over a pot of simmering water over medium heat. Meanwhile, coarsely chop 1 1/3 cups of the hazelnuts. Combine half the chopped nuts with the remaining whole nuts in a small bowl and set aside. Combine remaining chopped nuts with biscuits in a large bowl and set aside. Line a 7" x 11" dish with plastic wrap and set aside.
2. Beat eggs and sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until thick and pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Stir in chocolate mixture, then add to bowl with nuts and biscuits. Add brandy, stir until well combined, then transfer to prepared dish. Scatter remaining chopped and whole nuts in an even layer on top, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about 3 hours.
3. For the sauce: Purée raspberries and sugar together in a blender, strain through a sieve into a bowl, and set aside.
4. For the whipped cream: Whisk cream, sugar, and vanilla together in a large chilled bowl until soft peaks form, then set aside.
5. Transfer torte to a cutting board, unwrap, and cut evenly into 24 wedges with a sharp knife. Divide sauce evenly between 12 chilled plates, then put a large dollop of whipped cream and 2 pieces of torte on each. Serve cold.