Monday, February 9, 2009
Chocolate Cake with Apples and Hazelnuts
Have you ever had the feeling that you have dozens of cookbooks, a fridge full of food but you're just not sure what to cook? I don't get that feeling very often, but when I do I always go back to an old favorite. Flourless chocolate cakes are a classic.. but hyped up with fruit and nuts they are just amazing.
The combination of apples, hazelnuts and chocolate was what drew me to this recipe and all I can say is.. I was rewarded by my curiosity! Chocolate and apples are less seen in daily desserts but they go wonderfully well together. Add the crunchiness of some chopped hazelnuts and you have yourself quite the dessert. This cake was easy to make (think 20 minutes preparation maximum) and was an easy way to switch up a basic recipe.
Recipe (adapted from Valrhona), serves 8
2 small Granny Smith apples
1/3 cup of hazelnuts, chopped
250 grams of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
3 egg yolks
4 teaspoons of cornstarch
3 tablespoons of liquid honey
3 egg whites
Preheat your oven to 375ºF / 190ºC.
Prepare an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan (at least 2 inches deep) and grease the bottom and the sides. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/2-inch dice and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a light boil. Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let cool for about a minute. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the chocolate and cream are homogeneous. Slowly mix in the egg yolks and cornstarch until thoroughly incorporated. The mixture will be smooth and slightly thick.
In a separate bowl, add the honey to the egg whites and whip until soft peaks form.
Using a whisk, add about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten the mixture. Don't worry about breaking the whites at this point, just whisk in the whites to make the batter more malleable. Then, gently fold in the remaining egg whites in two batches, and avoid over-mixing. White streaks of egg white should still be visible in the chocolate mixture.
Pour the batter into the greased springform pan. Top with the chopped apples and hazelnuts and dust lightly with confectioner's sugar. Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet or sheet pan and bake immediately.
Cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to overcook or the cake will become flaky and dry.
Let the cake cool in the springform pan for at least 15 minutes before unmolding. The cake is best enjoyed while still warm. Enjoy!