This gluten-free chocolate hazelnut torte with white chocolate praline ice cream is a spectacular, yet easy, dessert. Recipe inspired and sponsored by Lily O’Briens Desserts Collection.
Mmmmm chocolate. Have I said how much I love chocolate? Probably, and often. But I am going to say it again because it bears repeating… chocolate is one of life’s greatest pleasures. This is one of the many reasons I was so excited to participate in the Lily O Brien’s Desserts Collection baking challenge (you can follow it on social media under hashtag #LoveLilys).
Lily O’Briens is an Irish chocolate brand – a passion project started by Mary Ann O’Brien in her kitchen in Kildare in the early ‘90s, named after her daughter Lily. This small enterprise is now an award-winning company with several exciting flavour collections.
The dessert collection contains six chocolates inspired by iconic desserts: Hazelnut Torte, Passion Fruit Posset, Banoffee Pie, Creme Brulée, Raspberry Infusion, Zesty Chocolate Orange and Key Limey Pie. I think you will agree there’s a favourite here for everyone.
I had literally been fighting my kids off the box since the chocolates arrived – partly because I needed to photograph them and partly because I wanted them all to myself. Shhhh!
It was pretty hard to pick a favourite out of these chocolates, so I had to taste everything twice just to make sure 😉 In the end, I picked the classic Hazelnut Torte as the inspiration for my baking challenge.
Now if you are wondering what a torte is and how it is different to a cake – apart from sounding a bit fancier – a torte is made with little or no flour and ground nuts in its place. My chocolate hazelnut torte is completely free of flour, which makes it naturally gluten-free as well.
The torte uses whisked egg whites to give it lift, makes it rise impressively in the oven but then settle slightly as it cools. My torte did just that which caused the top to crackle, but I think that just adds to its rustic charm. And I have never seen my kids, so jaded when it comes to desserts and cakes, be so excited over a dessert.
And as for the taste, it is truly heavenly! The texture is velvety and the torte simply melts in the mouth leaving you begging for more. You could serve it simply dusted with icing sugar or with a little whipped cream, but I went a step further and made some white chocolate praline no-churn ice cream.
No-churn ice cream is ridiculously easy to make and usually consists of two main ingredients: whisked double cream and sweetened condensed milk. You can add any flavourings you like to make it more exciting, from chocolate to fruit to crushed praline. The ice cream requires no churning, but it is wonderfully creamy and delicious.
As you can see I was a little carried away taking photos of the gluten-free chocolate hazelnut torte… It was just so photogenic and I was fuelled by chocolate having eaten a small slice…
Finally, I wanted to give Beards and Daisies a big shout out for providing me with the gorgeous flower bouquet that has a guess role in the Hazelnut torte photos. The White Christmas bouquet with white roses and blue eryngium was voted by the Independent as the best Christmas bouquet of 2016. If anyone wishes to give me a flower subscription for Christmas (hint!!) then this is the place to go!
Have you made one of my recipes? I wanna see! Tag me on Instagram and make my day 🙂
- For the ice cream
- 100g | 3½ oz hazelnuts
- 140g | 5oz sugar + 1 tsp
- 1 tbsp water
- 150g | 5½oz white chocolate, melted
- 600ml | 20.2fl oz | 1 large container double (heavy) cream
- 400g | 14oz | 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- For the hazelnut torte
- 175g | 6.2oz unsalted butter, softened
- 100g | 3.5oz whole blanched hazelnuts + 1 tbsp sugar
- 175g | 6.2oz caster sugar, divided
- 200g | 7oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
- 5 medium eggs, separated
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- icing sugar to dust
- chocolate shavings to decorate (optional)
- Make the ice cream. Line a tray with baking paper.
- Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over high heat until it starts melting. Stop stirring and swirl the pan until sugar is completely melted, bubbling, and turning a golden amber colour.
- Add the nuts and stir until they are covered in caramel.
- Pour the praline on the prepared tray and let it cool completely. Break into pieces and blittz in a food processor with 1 tsp sugar until finely ground.
- Whip the double cream until you have stiff peaks. Pour the condensed milk over the whipped cream and use a spatula to fold together.
- Fold in the melted white chocolate and ground praline. Transfer to a metal bowl or loaf tin and freeze overnight. Take out of the fridge 10 minutes before serving.
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and roast the hazelnuts for about 10 minutes, tossing them now and again so that they don't burn. Cool slightly then blitz in a food processor together with 1 tbsp of the sugar until finely ground.
- Lower the heat to 160C (325F) and line the bottom of a 20cm (8in) springform cake tin with baking paper, then spray the tin with cake release.
- Place the egg whites, half the sugar and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Whisk until you have stiff peaks. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Put the chocolate in a bowl and suspend the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Allow to slowly melt, stirring occasionally.
- Place half of the sugar and butter in the bowl your stand mixer (no need to clean) fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs yolks, one at a time, and beat them in until they are incorporated, again scraping the bowl as needed.
- Gradually add the melted chocolate then fold in the nuts and vanilla extract.
- Add ⅓ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it then fold in the rest gently trying not to knock the air out.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 50-55 or up to an hour. The cake will rise in the tin and a skewer inserted in the centre will come out with a few crumbs attached.
- Cool in the tin then remove and carefully transfer to a cake stand (or plate). Be gentle as the torte is a little fragile - you may want to leave the bottom of the springform tin on.
- The cake will settle slightly as it cools and the top may crack a little - this is normal.
- Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve with a scoop of the ice cream and a few chocolate shavings.
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