Chocolate, date & almond torte

Today is Australia Day, so depending on your politics it’s either a celebration of the white settlement of Australia, or it’s a reminder of the invasion of a land already occupied by Aboriginal tribes. It’s not the purpose of this blog to have a political position, so instead, I’m going to write about what we ate.

With Young Gun away with his dad this week, Bookworm at the Big Day Out & The General doing his own thing, the remaining adults took ourselves off to some good friends for the day. Said friends moved into a new waterfront home just before Christmas and the invitation was to come & enjoy a lamb on a spit, have a few drinks & watch the activity on the river. Oh and could we please bring something for dessert?

I made this

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As you may guess from the post title, it’s a Chocolate, date & almond torte. I had so many requests for the recipe that I’m sharing it here. I’m not entirely sure which magazine I originally took this from, my notes to myself say I last made it in 2005, so it’s been kicking around for a while. I do know that it is a recipe belonging to Jess Scarce at Lavendula Farm in Victoria.

6 eggwhites

250g caster sugar

300g pitted dates, roughly chopped

300g raw almonds (skin on), roughly chopped

300g dark chocolate buttons

Icing sugar, to dust

Ice cream, berry coulis & wafers (optional), to serve

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Grease & line the base of a 28cm springform cake pan (you could use a larger one but cooking time will be a bit reduced – this can burn quite quickly so keep an eye on it. You can’t use a smaller springform pan, there’s too much mixture).

Whisk the eggwhites in an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition to ensure it disolves. Whisk until stiff peaks form.

Meanwhile, place the dates & almonds in a food processor and pulse to break down slightly, add chocolate and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Transfer date mixture into a large bowl. Fold in a little of the meringue mixture to loosen the date mixture then gently fold in remaining meringue. Spoon into the cake pan and bake in the oven for an hour until the torte is firm at the outer edge (the original recipe calls for 1 hour 20 minutes baking but I made 2 of these this week and both were done after about 65 minutes). Cool in the pan.

Slice the torte thinly (it’s very rich) & dust with icing sugar. Serve with cream or ice cream, berry coulis &/or a wafer if desired. Stores well in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

We had a wonderful lunch today with great company, fantastic scenery, wonderful spit roasted lamb, a host of fabulous desserts and no politics. What more could you want on Australia Day?

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