This weekend I delved deep into my kitchen drawer and retrieved a half-forgotten, crumpled page bearing a wonderful recipe for a gorgeous meringue torte. For many years this cake, laden with a luscious mix of dark chocolate, hazelnuts, almonds and dates, was my signature dessert. An easy, dependable, fool-proof make ahead cake that never failed to impress. Sometimes decadently finished with a rich ganache, more often simply dusted with a mixture of icing sugar and cocoa. Always served with a dollop of creme fraiche on the side to cut through the richness.
The original recipe torn from the Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine is dated May 1992. There are many happy memories and a lot of history behind my baking of torte. Sadly, over time this reliable stalwart was abandoned in favour of newer, flashier, more modern ingenues. I was reminded of this torte over a catch-up with an old friend who had enjoyed it in many of its guises in the past. She enquired whether I still remembered the recipe, and the hunt was on.
After the passing of more than twenty years its only fair to say that what’s old is new again. So here is the torte in its latest reincarnation. This time served with one of my latest, newest obsessions; a no churn condensed milk ice cream. The addition of sour cream to the mixture providing a refreshing tang. A wonderful substitution for creme fraiche.
Chocolate Date and Nut Torte With Sour Cream Ice Cream
Chocolate Date and Nut Torte
Adapted from a recipe in The Australian Gourmet Traveller May 1992
250g (about 1 1/2 cups) pitted medjool dates, finely chopped by hand
250g dark chocolate
2/3 cup almonds
2/3 cup hazelnuts
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup caster sugar
PREHEAT oven to 180 C, non fan-forced. Grease and line a 23cm round spring form cake tin with baking paper.
PROCESS almonds, hazelnuts and chocolate in a food processor until finely chopped.
BEAT egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition until thick and glossy.
STIR in a third of the chocolate mixture and a third of the dates. Gently fold in remaining chocolate mixture and dates.
SPOON into the prepared tin and bake at 180 C for 45 minutes. Turn oven off and leave torte to cool in oven with door ajar.
WHEN cool remove from tin, wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.
SERVE with sour cream ice-cream.
No Churn Sour Cream Ice Cream
Makes 1 litre
1 tub (250g) sour cream
1 tin (395g) condensed milk, chilled overnight in the fridge
1 lemon, juiced and zest finely grated
POUR condensed milk into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very thick and the beaters leave a clear trail.
ADD the sour cream, lemon zest and juice, beating well to combine.
POUR the mixture into a plastic container with a lid and freeze for at least four hours or until firm. The resulting ice cream will be a smooth and creamy soft scoop style which will not require thawing before serving.