Wednesday, 24 February 2010

is it a cake? is it a dessert? no, it's chocolate torrone

chocolate torrone 1

So, I seem to be on a bit of an Italian drive at the moment. And that's having denied all knowledge in my last post. Oh well. Never mind. Speak first, think later, and all that.

You may have gathered by now that I like chocolate. So at least I'm being consistent by coming up with another chocolate-themed post.

But next, a dilemma. Torrone. Soft. Chocolate. What to call it? Cake or dessert? Dessert or cake? Or neither? Anna del Conte calls it 'a confection' - a neat get-out if ever I saw one, particularly as she then goes on to explain that it is 'usually served as a pudding, though it is delicious with coffee at any time of day'.

Hmmm, not a good start. And then there's the question of which recipe. As any fule no, Italians will argue all day and night - nay, an entire lifetime - over the provenance and authenticity of a recipe.

Fine. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, I go.

What follows, then, is my version, based on a recipe by Anna Del Conte. She is in no way responsible for what I've done to it, be it for better or worse. (No way could I countenance putting digestive biscuits in it, for example. To me that would result in something much more like the ubiquitous chocolate tiffin.) Mine will give you a very soft and intensely chocolatey 'nougat', which should be served straight from the fridge.

chocolate torrone 2

100g blanched almonds
100g blanched hazelnuts or pistachios
200g unsalted butter
120g cocoa powder (the best you can get, 100% pure cocoa)
1 large egg
1 tbsp golden syrup or a plain honey
2 tbsp dark rum

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Line a 2lb loaf tin with cling film. Spread the nuts on a baking tray, and toast for 7-10 minutes until they've turned golden. Watch them like a hawk, though - they burn very easily.

Leave them to cool, and then whizz in a blender until coarsely ground. (Alternatively, depending on how you like your torrone, whizz half until coarsely ground, and the other half more finely.)

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa, a spoonful at a time, and beat hard until completely incorporated. Next, mix in the nuts. Then beat the egg and golden syrup together, and add to the mixture. Add in the rum, and stir the whole lot until thoroughly blended.

Spoon the mixture into the clingfilmed tin, press it down, and level the top. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

(Anna's serving suggestion: 'Decorate with crystallised flowers and/or blanched or sugared almonds to serve.' As you can see, I ignored that, and went with blood oranges instead - a good match for both the rum and cocoa.)

chocolate torrone 3

This chocolate torrone goes well with a Maury, or with a decent, strong coffee. Eat it as a dessert, a cake, I really don't care. Have it for breakfast, if you feel so inclined. Life's too short to argue about it.


The Ample Cook said...

Oooh, that looks chocolately, dense and nutty how fabulous.

Chow and Chatter said...

oh wow looks amazing and I have got a yorkie for you!!

Beth said...

I could have a slice of that right now!!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Chocolate and orange are seriously my favourite. Never tried torrone or turron (Spanish neighbour I believe) but good to see how it's made.

Peter M said...

I love chocolate and orange...what time shall I drop by for coffee?

Clairetweet said...

Like the look of this Helen. I'll swap you a slice for a choc swirly bun! Will let you know when I give the recipe a try.

ginandcrumpets said...

Oh my, but that looks good. Chocolate, Orange and Molesworth - perfect combination.

Kavey said...

Oh my yes. Yes please.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Ample Cook - yes, yes, it is ;)

C&C - swapsies?

Beth - I could, and I am ;)

Sarah - this is just one version. Go to Google and you'll see lots of others, particularly more nougaty ones

Peter M - any time, Peter. I'll start the coffee

Claire - swap for choc swirly bun? Hmm, ok. Deal!

G&C - glad someone picked up on the Molesworth reference. My work here is done.

Kavey - how can I refuse such a polite request?

Manggy said...

Confection? I think dessert will do just fine :) (unless it's meant to be in the league of, say, macarons or biscotti, in which case never mind, again!) Chocolate by any other name would taste as sweet! :)

Mediterranean kiwi said...

this looks amazing - great effort

Louis Anthony Woodbine said...

Oh what delicious torture to read this in the morning just before coffee... fantastic... Lou

Bellini Valli said...

This is a delicious twist on this old favourite.

Pia K said...

adore the top photo, amazing!

i'm not a fan of nougat, but with all that delightful nutty stuff going on i might be inclined to try it anyway...:)

Foodycat said...

That looks lovely!

Sarah said...

I don't care what it's called...I want some.

LexEat! said...

A confection! I love that!
Beautiful photos!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Manggy - ok, ok, we'll call it dessert...

Med kiwi - thank you

Louis - certainly would have been good with the coffee

Val - certainly is!

Pia - it's not really very 'nougatty', honest. Give it a try, and you'll see what I mean

Foodycat - thank you

Sarah - heh ;)

LexEat - 'confection' conjures images of sweets to me, or an elaborate pastry, but I guess what you call it isn't what counts, it's the taste!

Johanna GGG said...

I have a confession - that looked so good I thought I could smell it but then I realised it was the chocolate cake crumbs beside me after a slice of brownie - but I do love your photos and the idea of a confection that is full of chocolate

scandilicious said...

A sweet treat if there ever was one :-) Looks lovely, never tried making chocolate torrone but imagine it's hard to resist tucking into more than one piece at a time!

teanamu said...

OOooo chocolate ...

are the orange slices candied?

Louise said...

thank goodness I didn't give up chocolate for lent, this looks fabulous!

Claudia said...

I am a torrone fiend - plain, vnilla, honey, chjocolate, chocolate-covered - it satisfies all. Your recipe sounds grand and your torrone is beautiful.

Lucy said...

Oh wow. This looks divine, moreish, delicious - everything! Gorgeous.

Choclette said...

Choclatey nougat- you've got me!

Cakelaw said...

Yum! Call it what you may, it looks superb!

groupon clone said...

Great! Such a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.
Groupon Clone| Groupon Clone Script| Groupon Clone Script|