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.
This torte is also gluten-free!
- 1 ½ cups (375 ml) cashews soaked
- 2/3 cup (150 ml) agave nectar or ¾ cup (175 ml) pure maple syrup
- ½ cup (125 ml) coconut oil
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) dark chocolate chips melted
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) fine-grain sea salt
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) espresso powder (optional)
- shaved chocolate (optional)
- coconut flakes (optional)
- Make the Toasted Hazelnut Crust: Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23-cm) pie dish with coconut oil.
- In a food processor, process the hazelnuts into a fine crumb with the texture of sand. Add the oil, maple syrup, sale, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add the 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, but it shouldn’t be super-sticky either. If it’s too dry, try adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) water or processing a bit longer
- 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 the steam escape.
- 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.
- Make the Filling: Drain and rinse the cashews. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashews, agave, 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.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust, scooping every last bit out of the blender. Smooth out the top evenly. Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or coconut flakes, if desired.
- 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.
- 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 (see page 280) 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 1 ½ weeks.
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 (125 ml) toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, and freeze until solid (about 2 hours). Slice into squares and enjoy straight from the freezer.
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