Hazelnuts are one of our favourite ingredients. Their intense nutty flavour combined with chocolate, honey, pears or cream make a perfect autumn dessert. Hazelnut cake is a traditional cake from Piedmont which is renowned for their hazelnuts many of which make their way into Ferrero Roche.
This cake has only 3 ingredients but feel free to add some chocolate chips or serve it alongside whipped cream, vanilla or chocolate ice cream and/or poached pears. I saute ripe pears with butter, honey and vanilla and serve them alongside as a bit of contrast. It is equally good served simply on its own and is a surprisingly light dessert. As there are only 3 ingredients, the key to an amazing cake is using tasty hazelnuts. Toast the hazelnuts up and check their flavour first.
Torta di nocciole (hazelnut cake) – Piemonte
This recipe has the extra added bonus of being traditionally dairy and gluten free. For an illustrated step-by-step guide, click here.
- 400 grams hazelnuts, skinned, toasted and cooled to room temperature (see note)
- 4eggs, separated (see technique here)
- 200 grams sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160C. Chop the hazelnuts finely, being careful not to over grind them and make hazelnut butter.
- Whip the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixer on medium speed until it has doubled in volume and turned a light golden colour.
- Whip the egg whites together in a mixer over low speed until foamy. Increase the speed on the mixer until fluffy and white and you start to see the beater marks remain in the foam. Dip the beater in and pull it out to see if a foamy peak forms and folds over on itself (soft peak). Be careful not to over beat the whites until they look dry.
- Add ⅓ of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture using a spatula to fold them together. Be careful when mixing not to lose the air that has just been beaten in.
- Add the rest of the egg white mixture and the chopped hazelnuts, folding in gently with the spatula, ensuring that even the bottom of the bowl is well combined.
- Grease and flour or line with paper a cake tin. Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.
To toast the hazelnuts, place on a baking tray in a single layer in a 160C oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.