Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Monday, 11 July 2016

Heavenly Chocolate, Walnut & Pear Torte - gluten & dairy free (accidental maybe, but gluten free chocolate torte is rarely better than this!)


Occasionally....... very occasionally....... I make a dish that surpasses all expectations and makes me go weak at the knees both for the joy of eating it as well as the euphoria of the baking success. THIS is one of those dishes!

Give thanks to the chocolate god...... for she has delivered perfection in the form of a Heavenly Chocolate, Walnut & Pear Torte which is not only gluten free, but dairy free as well!

What makes the result even more startling is that it wasn't actually meant to be the Torte it became.  I set out to make a pear brownie with nothing but a larder of ingredients, some paper and a pen. I wanted the brownie to be dairy as well as gluten free and I wanted to make it with ingredients that weighted to the healthier side of decadence..... coconut oil in replacement of butter and spreads, less refined sugars, anti-oxidant and flavanol-rich dark chocolate, nutrient-rich almonds and walnuts, protein-filled eggs and some fruit for good measure.


As a brownie it failed..... the crumb was gooey yes, but it was not 'sticky' enough to hold as a brownie.

Disappointed...... I took a disgruntled mouthful of my 'failed' chocolate bake........ and WOW! The flavour and texture was incredible. As my brain processed the experience, making sense of the soft, silky, gooey, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate heaven that was dissolving on my tongue, I realised that (to me at least) this was a truly accidental masterpiece. Deep, nutty, chocolate-filled waves of wanton enjoyment washed across my senses. Serotonin-induced heaven on a spoon.....


I usually hate to 'big myself up' on things and generally play down success..... Confidence has never been a key part of my personality...... But you know what? THIS torte is so delicious, I am going to shout it from the roof tops.

Many years ago when I still ate gluten, I had a favourite dessert at a Mexican restaurant called Cafe Des Amis. It was a chocolate torte served with dark and white chocolate cream. I was totally gutted when I could no longer eat it..... it was the dessert that made me ecstatically happy when I ate it. Knowing that I would just be disappointed if I tried to create a gluten free version that failed, I have never bothered to try...... But this torte is as close as I remember...... in fact, I think it may be even better!


I realise that these are pretty big claims for a humble chocolate torte, so to be sure its advent was not a fluke, it has been made and devoured twice this week in our house. It has disappeared in a flash on both occasions...... and once gone, I was already facing calls for more....

It is most definitely a dessert torte..... with a very moist, dark, rich, pudding-like crumb. Best eaten with a fork or spoon, it can be made even more decadent with a hefty pillowy dollop of whipped coconut cream or (if you can eat dairy) some clotted or extra thick double cream. The walnuts add a beautiful nutty crunch to the experience and the pear marries wonderfully against the cocoa..... Pear and chocolate is one of my all time favourite dessert combinations.


Mr GF thinks it is the best chocolate torte I have ever made. That's high praise...... Asked to describe it however, he merely said 'Yummy'! Pushed to be a little more specific, he said it was 'not over-sweet' and was a 'very adult dessert'. He was never a man of many words and clearly won't be employed as a food critic any time soon! Miss GF disagrees with the 'adult' bit of course..... being a child who loved it too, she is worried that such flippant statements may render this new wonder-pud off-limits. She's ready for a fight!

I am sharing the chocolate love with the following linkies :


We Should Cocoa with the lovely Choclette over at Tin and Thyme. July's chocolate theme is 'anything goes'.

Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse.






Inheritance Recipes with Coffee & Vanilla (& Pebble Soup). Given that this torte is my best gluten free comparison with one of my all time favourite desserts, I am passing it to Miss GF as a keeper for her future foodie joy.

Cook Blog Share, this week with Snap Happy Bakes.




Sunday Fitness & Food, this week with Ilka's Blog (& Marathons & Motivation).


Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.







Tea Time Treats with The Hedge Combers (& Lavender & Lovage). This is Janie's very last hosting of the Tea Time Treats Linky Party and to make sure she goes out on a high, she has asked for all of our Best Ever Recipes! Thanks for being such a great host Janie...... We'll miss you!

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too




Chocolate, Walnut & Pear Torte

Ingredients

220g good quality dark (dairy free) chocolate - chopped
130g coconut oil
75g coconut palm sugar
75g soft light brown sugar
85g plain gluten free flour (I used been A from this post)
15g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
50g ground almonds
100g rough-chopped walnuts
2 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
50 ml almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ pears - cored, peeled and cut into small cubes
50g dark (dairy free) chocolate chips

additional walnut halves to decorate

Method

  1. Base-line a 9 inch loose-bottomed cake tin (round or square) with baking paper.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt together the chocolate, coconut oil and two sugars until well-blended. Do not allow to boil.
  4. In a large bowl, weigh and mix together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, ground almonds and chopped walnuts.
  5. Add the chocolate-sugar liquid and beat well with a silicone or wooden spoon.  Set aside to cool slightly, stirring intermittently.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, almond milk and vanilla extract until well blended. Add to the cooled chocolate batter and beat through with the spoon.
  7. Fold in the pear cubes and chocolate chips.
  8. Pour the batter into the cake tin and smooth the top.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes before turning the oven down to 150 C/300 F/Gas 2. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  10. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool completely. The centre of the cake may sink very slightly. This is fine. It should be very moist and a little gooey.
  11. When cold, carefully remove from the tin and place on a serving plate. 
  12. Decorate with walnut halves (to keep them in place, I stuck mine with a little melted chocolate) and a further sprinkle of nuts and chocolate as you choose. 
  13. Serve on its own, with poached pears or with whipped coconut cream or double/clotted cream (if you can eat dairy).
  14. Store in the fridge between 'eats'. It will firm up, but when brought back to room temperature before serving will regain its soft, gooey consistency. 
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

24 comments:

  1. This sounds FABULOUS!!! I love the combo of dark chocolate and pears. I have pinned this and will give it a try. I think my entire family will love this :-)

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    1. Thanks Angela. I adore the pears and chocolate combo! This was so good. I really hope lots of others enjoy it as much as we did. Let me know how it goes if you do make it! x

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  2. wow this looks like my sort of cake - am glad you have discovered an old favourite and new favourite at the same time!!!

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    1. Thanks Johanna. I have a feeling it may make a number of appearances on our table! It's funny how things work out...... SO excited to have made the discovery!

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  3. I could just dive into this right now. I am struggling with getting my head around selling on Amazon when all I really want to do is go to sleep...or eat your torte! It was so lovely to see you at the weekend. Thank you so much for coming by.

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    1. Aww thanks Vicki. I have to agree...... eating torte sounds way better than having to get heads round the world of internet commerce. You must be exhausted after the weekend. Make sure you rest.....
      It was lovely to see you too at the weekend and to meet your sister (who is equally lovely!). Miss GF was very delighted to have met you both too!
      And so excited to see actual bags of FFF Flour on sale. Wow! You must be so thrilled! I will be trying mine soon (I have downloaded the pastry e-book and am looking forward to testing) and will let you know how it goes.
      Sending huge bundles of good wishes xx

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  4. That sounds and looks amazing. I love it when disasters turn into something delicious. I managed to turn a split ganache into a delicious cake once, only I never wrote down what I did and now can't remember how to recreate it. This looks the perfect gooey cake dessert. My favourite! :)

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    1. Thanks Katie. I agree. Some of my best dishes have been accidental!
      I would love to know how you managed to turn a ganache into cake though. That sounds truly impressive! x

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  5. I often give thanks to the chocolate gods! And I also love a recipe that is discovered from something out failing. Looks delicious. #freefromfridays

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    1. Ha ha! Those chocolate gods should be truly revered! x

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  6. Sounds and looks amazing. I have also one similar torte in my childhood memories... I should probably try to recreate it as well. Thanks for sharing with Inheritance Recipes.

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    1. Thanks Margot. I love to try and recreate favourite recipes from the past. And I love to pass them on when I succeed!

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  7. Brownies seem to go either one way or another. The only competition I ever entered was a couple of years ago, the recipe was brownies. Cooking in a professional kitchen against two excellent food bloggers is hard enough but forgetting to incorporate the flour made it worse. However that little disaster cut down the cooking time as a result my brownies had the best texture and I won. Thank you for linking your story to the inheritance recipes

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    1. Wow! That's a great story! Did you leave out the flour altogether?
      I know what you mean though..... and I am definitely in the gooey camp!

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  8. Oh my word this does look extremely heavenly :-) Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

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  9. Wow, I'm actually craving this for breakfast! Looks absolutely divine. I always find that coconut sugar works wonderfully in chocolate desserts, it seems to add to the chocolatiness! x

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    1. Thanks Aimee...... I may actually have sneaked the odd bit for breakfast before it disappeared..... But Sssshhh.... don't tell anyone!
      Coconut sugar is fab though..... I am increasingly using it at the moment (although there have been a couple of (previously reliable) recipes where using as a substitute for sugar has caused disaster!)

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  10. It looks really good and my mouth is watering right now!

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  11. Oh what a very happy accident. You have well and truly sold this torte and I have bookmarked it for when pears are back in season. It looks beautifully gooey inside and despite the heat, I'm feeling very tempted right now. Thanks for the kind words and for sharing this with #WeShouldCocoa.

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    1. Well thank you! It was rather delightful and perfectly gooey x

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  12. I am currently contemplating what to do ...... I have no fresh pears but I really want to make this cake. I'm thinking about using mandarin segments but I'm not sure if they will work. I guess if it doesn't the kids can always have it for breakfast.

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    1. Mmmm.... Not sure about mandarin. They will probably work if they are de-skinned. Apple? Cherries? Strawberries? Raspberries? Actually... it's probably very flexible, as it's meant to be very moist anyway. I'd give mandarins a go....
      Let me know how you get on!

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Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a message about any aspect of this post. It's always great to get feedback!