Chocolate Cherry Walnut Torte
Yield: 1 (9-inch) torte
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic unbleached sugar
9 ounces dark chocolate (around 70% cacao), coarsely chopped
Zest of 1 small orange
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup egg whites (around 7 to 8 eggs)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup dried cherries
Crème fraiche, fresh cherries, and grated dark chocolate, to top
Special equipment: a 9-inch springform pan
Pulse walnuts with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Wipe processor bowl clean and add chocolate with 1 tablespoon of sugar and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add mixture to bowl with walnuts. Stir in orange zest and salt to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating at medium-high speed until the whites are glossy and stiff, but not completely dry.
Pour half of chocolate-walnut mixture over egg whites and fold until nearly incorporated. Repeat with remaining mixture, folding together until just incorporated. Gently fold in dried cherries.
Scrape batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until torte is golden brown and lightly springs back when touched in the center. Let cool completely in tin before removing.
Serve cake topped with crème fraiche and decorated with pitted fresh cherries and grated or flaked dark chocolate.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont