This is a crowd-pleasing chocolate dessert that will win over any chocolate fan. Reminiscent of Nutella, the popular chocolate-hazelnut spread, my toasted hazelnut crust is the perfect nutty complement to the rich and creamy chocolate filling.
No one will believe this torte is dairy-free and many will go back for seconds despite their best intentions. If you want a show-stopping dessert that will wow a crowd, this is your recipe.
Be sure to soak the cashews overnight, or for at least three to four hours, so they’re ready when you need them.
Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust
¾ cup / 100g hazelnuts
¼ cup / 60ml coconut oil
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 ½ cups / 150g rolled oats, divided, gluten-free if necessary
1 ½ cups / 200g cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
¾ cup / 175 ml pure maple syrup
½ cup / 125 ml coconut oil
1/3 cup / 30g cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
1/3 cup / 75 ml dark chocolate chips, melted (I used chopped dark chocolate)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used seeds of ½ vanilla bean)
½ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
½ tsp. espresso powder (optional)
shaved dark chocolate, for garnish (optional)
coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)
1. Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish with coconut oil.
2. In a food processor, blend ½ cup of the rolled oats on high until you have a rough flour, place a small bowl and set aside. Without cleaning the machine, process the hazelnuts into a fine crumb with the texture of sand. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add the remaining 1 cup of rolled oats and pulse until the oats are chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together slightly when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t, try adding a bit more maple syrup or processing a bit longer.
3. With your fingers, crumble the dough evenly over the base of the pie dish. Starting from the middle, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the dish, moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish. The harder you press the crumbs into the dish, the better the crust will hold together. Poke a few fork holes into the bottom to let steam escape.
4. Bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Make the filling: Drain and rinse the cashews. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashews, maple syrup, oil, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt, and espresso powder (if using) and blend on high until the filling is completely smooth. It can take a few minutes of blending to get it smooth, depending on your blender. If the blender needs more liquid to get it going, add a tablespoon (15 mL) of almond milk (or a bit more) to help it along.
6. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, smoothing out the top evenly. Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or coconut flakes, if desired.
7. Place the pie dish on an even surface in the freezer, uncovered. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then cover the dish with foil and freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, until the pie sets.
8. Remove the pie from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before slicing. This pie is meant to be served frozen. Serve with homemade Whipped Coconut Cream (page 280 of the book) and finely chopped hazelnuts, if desired, but it’s fantastic all on its own, too. Wrap leftover slices individually in foil and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 to 1½ weeks.
Tip: Not in the mood to make a crust? Turn this dessert into freezer fudge by preparing only the chocolate filling. Pour the filling into an 8-inch (20-cm) square pan lined with plastic wrap; top with ½ cup / 65g toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, and freeze until solid (about 2 hours). Slice into squares and enjoy straight from the freezer.
Recipe and image reprinted with permission from THE OH SHE GLOWS COOKBOOK, published by Penguin, 2014, Copyright © 2014 by Glo Bakery Corporation.