Chocolate Chip Torte
Created with pride for California Gourmet Vegan Chocolate ChipsThis delicious Flourless Almond Apricot Chocolate Chip Torte with Chocolate Frosting is my latest born baby, born yesterday to be exact! Perfect for Passover and year round. Gluten-Free without even trying!
I was really excited when Chana Shusterman, who manufactures the new and delicious brand California Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Chips, asked me if I could develop a Passover Dessert Recipe showcasing her fabulous new 48% cocoa chips.
What could possibly be bad at such a high cocoa content, and all natural? Right up this tinkerer’s alley! California Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Chips fill a great void, (who doesn’t remember the Trader Joe Chocolate Chips debacle a couple years ago, when they switched to dairy?) and I have been reviewing them and tinkering with them ever since they came out: they make lots of chocolate lovers happy, from the Dairy-Free Community to the Kosher Diners who want their Pareve Cake and eat it too, and everyone in between.
Their site lists all locations where you can buy them. But here’s more good news: an online company just made a link to serve people not living in NY/NJ/CA. These are available online FREE shipping when you buy a 6 pk: http://bit.ly/PremiumCaliforniaGourmetOnline
As you know, I never consider Passover cooking or baking a handicap, but a real opportunity to create something fantastic with the most select and most seasonal ingredients, so playing with a few delicious flavors and textures was no hardship, au contraire. (My Mega Passover File with Recipes will easily bear this out). Almonds, apricots and chocolate: A ménage à trois made in heaven!
My Almond Apricot Chocolate Chip Torte, in addition to being suitable for Passover, and luxurious the natural way as is my trademark, shares a great discovery, sort of like the Holy Grail: A frosting that is all natural, easy, dairy-free, low maintenance and fantastic. I know you will think I lost it when I share my secret, something I have been experimenting with for quite some time: Potato Flakes. All-Natural 100% pure potato flakes. Ingredients: Dehydrated Potatoes. Period. Making dessert with potato flakes, hello? I know what you’re thinking: I’m a crazy old hippie. But here’s the thing: It’s funky, but IT WORKS!
I remembered the wonderful tricks we used during the photo shoots for my cookbooks, with my son in law, talented photographer Meir Pliskin, and Hannah Kaminsky, no less talented food stylist and Vegan Cookbook Author.
Potato flakes were our best friend:
All we needed to do with a recalcitrant food composition was mix equal parts potato flakes and boiling water, and mix thoroughly with a fork until the mixture got smooth, fluffy and creamy. Pretty soon the mixture would get totally stiff, would mix with anything we wanted to fold in (spinach for green, tomato paste for red and so on), and obediently hold its shape, and look perfect at photo shoot time. I could pretend it was a fish or a vegetable or a meat terrine.
Recently, I decided to see if my potato flake photo racket would work in scenarios where the mixture would in fact get eaten. I observed that my potato flake mixture was totally bland and therefore totally unobtrusive. More to the point, it had a totally undetectable flavor, absorbed any flavor it was paired with, and held its shape beautifully. In short, my potato flake mixture is my blank canvas.
I tried a dozen combinations with ingredient amounts, and my last try was a triumph: a delicious and glossy chocolate frosting that contains nothing but the best, and won’t drive you crazy at decorating time or at serving time.
This chocolate frosting is just the beginning.
I will take my discovery places and try using potato flakes with many other exciting combos. Frostings, fillings, with chocolate, fruit, nuts etc…). I am delighted with my results, and so is everyone big and small I gave a taste to (my granddaughter licked her chops). I guarantee you will concur: My Almond Apricot Chocolate Chip Torte will do Chana’s California Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Chips mighty proud, potato flake frosting and all!
OKay, enough said, here comes my newborn chocolate chip torte.
This chocolate chip torte is rich and luscious, a small serving is all you need to be happy, and you will get a dozen ample servings.
Start with the chocolate frosting, it will get a chance to firm up while you make the torte.
- 1 cup natural potato flakes (you might have to settle for whatever brand is available on Passover)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup pure cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup 48% cocoa California Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Chips (you will have 1 cup chips left from the bag, we need that whole cup in the torte, so, sorry no munching)
Mix the potato flakes and boiling water in a food processor, scraping the sides and making sure the flakes have been completely absorbed. Mix the cocoa powder, sugar, coconut milk, oil and chips in a small saucepan on a very low flame, a minute or two, stirring, until just melted (or microwave 1 minute or a drop more until the chips are melted, then stir to combine). Transfer the chocolate mixture to the food processor, and process a full minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte.
- 4 eggs whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- Grated zest of 1 navel orange
- 2 cups finely ground almonds, from whole peel-on almonds (ready ground store bought OK)
- 1 cup dried apricots, packed (make sure they are nice and plump), coarsely chopped in a food processor
- 1 cup 48% cocoa California Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and baking powder in a perfectly dry stainless steel or glass bowl. Whip the mixture at high speed with a hand or stand mixer, until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, using it all up, and continue to beat, until stiff peaks form. Switch the mixer speed to medium, add the yolks and beat until just incorporated, then add the oil and beat until just incorporated. Switch the mixture to low, add the zest and nuts and mix until just incorporated.
Fold in the apricots and chips with a spoon, gently but thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a greased 12 inch round pie plate (if you don't have a plate that wide, settle for 10 inches wide, nothing narrower or your torte will be too deep and won't have the intended meringue-y texture. OK to settle for 2 9-inch pie plates, and end up with two tortes), and bake for 35 minutes, or a drop longer, until the center is barely firm to the touch. Let the cake cool completely, then add the frosting, in any nice pattern you like.
In the top picture, I used a pointed pastry tip, but you can use a serrated cake knife, and run it through the frosting in a fun pattern, as I did in the above picture.