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Chestnut and Chocolate Torte by Emma Hatcher

A delicious chocolate dessert recipe to have in your back pocket this holiday season. Pleasingly adaptable for those with food intolerances or without, it happens to be gluten free and FODMAP friendly and is easily tweaked to be lactose or dairy free too.

While you don’t taste big chestnut flavour, the seasonal, nutty addition adds creaminess and a lightness to otherwise very rich torte (they’re also a great source of fibre and we all know we should be getting more of that).

Something dairy/non dairy, but most importantly creamy served alongside is a must. I like to add a little more vanilla extract into whatever I use, as it goes so well with the chestnut.

chocolate torte
Serves 10

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
250g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 eggs, separated
175g caster sugar
200g pouch chestnut puree
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract, plus extra for the yogurt (optional)
50g gluten-free plain flour blend

1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Zest of ½ an orange
1 tablespoon icing sugar
A few tablespoons of yogurt, cream or crème fraîche, to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C, 160C fan and grease and line a 23cm spring form cake tin. No need to be neat - simply use two large squares of baking paper and overlap them, one on top of the other, pushing the paper down into any nooks and crannies.

Add the butter and chocolate to a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of gently simmering water. Without letting the water touch the bottom of the bowl, allow the butter and chocolate to melt, stirring every now and then to combine. Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat and place to one side to cool.

In a large bowl, using an electric whisk, beat the egg yolks and sugar until doubled in size, pale in colour and silky smooth. In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.

Combine the cooled chocolate mixture with the egg yolks and sugar and stir through the chestnut puree and vanilla extract. Fold in a spoonful of the stiff egg whites to loosen the mixture, then add the remainder, folding in carefully so as to keep in as much air in the batter as possible.

Sift over the flour and add the salt and then zest of half an orange, then fold gently once more to combine.

Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 35 minutes, or until the torte is just set. It should have a small wobble in the centre if you give it a little shake.

Cool the torte at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge for a few hours to cool and set completely. To serve, release the torte from the tin and pull back the baking paper. Cut the torte into thin slices, dust with icing sugar and serve with yogurt, cream or crème fraîche of your choice.

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