Raspberry Hazelnut Torte

I was wondering a few days ago what flavours went well with raspberries besides the classic vanilla and rose. I eventually had this idea that chives would pair well with raspberries. Yup. Chives – relatives of the onion. So, I tried to find a recipe online that used chives with raspberries and found none. At that point I questioned whether or not chives were a good choice. Online research made it seem as though chives would complement raspberries as well as Worcestershire sauce would (you know, the sauce that no one knows how to spell). At first, I decided against using chives with raspberries since it would be too risky. But, eventually, I did it anyway just to see what would happen (and to entertain you).

Raspberry hazelnut torte with vanilla-chive pastry cream, hazelnut dacquoise, and hazelnut nougatine

I decided to made a hazelnut dacquoise for the cake layers. Dacquoise is made very similarly to French macarons, except when the nuts are folded in the goal is not to deflate the egg whites (while making French macarons you’re trying to deflate then). Here, you want to keep as much air inside the egg whites as possible so that the cake is light and fluffy.

If you’ve ever peeled hazelnuts before you know it’s quite a task. That’s why I didn’t do it – it was R’s job. He had three shifts that day where he would come down to the kitchen and peel hazelnuts. At one point, he got so tired that he suggested buying a factory-sized nut peeling machine so that he would never have to peel nuts again. I didn’t need another one though; he was my factory-sized nut peeling machine. I suggest investing in a human sized nut-peeling machine.

The next step was the raspberry-chive layers. These were a pain. After I created a sauce from the raspberries and chives (and froze it), unmoulding it and placing it between cake layers drove me crazy. It kept on falling apart and just wouldn’t stay together; I had small pieces of raspberry gelatin covering the cake instead of one solid piece. I was putting the cake together at 3:00am, and I didn’t have the patience for the raspberry gelatin falling apart. At this point I had given up. I spread the raspberry pieces onto the cake in a layer and covered them with chive-infused pastry cream. I thought that this cake was going to be a write off. Chives with raspberries? Raspberry gelatin that fell apart? I was pretty upset.

Raspberries with a sprig of mint and rose petals

The next morning I decided to taste my failures.

They were delicious.

Somehow, the raspberry gelatin formed one solid layer (perhaps it melted slightly in the fridge and expanded?) and the chives in the pastry cream added a slightly piquant undertone to the cake that balanced its sweetness. The tart lemon gelatin layer that I added on top brought out the flavour of the raspberries perfectly. The hazelnut dacquoise? It was perfect. It was sticky and flavourful, with a simple and refreshing hazelnut flavour that went so well with the raspberries. The one thing that the cake was missing though was some crunch.

I considered adding rice krispies, but that wouldn’t be particulary elegant (although probably quite tasty). Chopped hazelnuts just wouldn’t do. What the cake needed was nougatine: a crunchy, nut caramel that’s often put in chocolate bars.

So, I made hazelnut nougatine. In under thirty minutes from start, to cooling, to finish. I didn’t even know that was possible. Plus, I even made it without a candy thermometer. I felt like I had magical nougatine-making powers. The crunch of the nougatine went so well with the creamy cake underneath it.

Raspberry hazelnut torte with vanilla-chive pastry cream, hazelnut dacquoise, and hazelnut nougatine

This cake, although at times unnerving, is quite amazing. It’s the best cake I’ve had in a long time, and so I’d definitely recommend it. If you’re looking for a challenge (or an awesome slice of cake!), this recipe is for you. Just don’t stress too much about the raspberries, and don’t forget about the chives.

Raspberry Hazelnut Torte
A hazelnut dacquoise torte with raspberry and vanilla pastry cream layers, with the subtle flavor of chives.
For the dacquoise:
  • 1¼ cups (160g) hazelnuts, toasted and peeled
  • ⅘ cup (100g) powdered sugar, unsifted
  • ¼ cup (25g) all-purpose flour
  • 6 egg whites
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
For the raspberry-chive layers:
  • 2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
  • ¼ cup (62.5ml) cold water
  • 4 cups (492g) frozen raspberries
  • 5 chives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
For the vanilla-chive pastry cream:
  • 8 egg yolks
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
  • ¼ cup (62.5ml) cold water
  • 2 cups (500ml) milk
  • 2 cups (500ml) whipping cream
  • 5 chives, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the lemon gelatin layer:
  • ¼ cup (62.5ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
For the hazelnut nougatine:
  • 1⅛ cups (225g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (62.5ml) light corn syrup
  • 1 cup (132g) hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • pinch of salt
Prepare the dacquoise:
  1. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts with the powdered sugar until finely ground. Empty into a bowl and sift the flour over it. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the egg whites and the sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the hazelnut mixture and the rose water, being careful not to deflate the egg whites but still to incorporate the nuts. Keep as much air in the batter as possible. Divide batter between two quarter sheet pans lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes). Let cool and then flip over and peel off the parchment paper.
Prepare the raspberry-chive layers:
  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine the raspberries, sugar, and chives. Cook until the raspberries are reduced to a puree. Strain through a sieve and discard the seeds and chives, and then stir in the gelatin. Pour over two quarter sheet pans that are lined with parchment paper. Cool to room temperature and then freeze.
Prepare the chive-vanilla pastry cream:
  1. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold water. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until very pale. In a saucepan combine the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chives and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium low heat until thick. Pass the cream through a sieve to remove the chives. Take off the heat and stir in the gelatin. Cover the top with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool.
Prepare the lemon gelatin layer:
  1. Do this about 15 minutes before assembling the torte. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Bring the lemon juice, water, and sugar to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the gelatin and cool to room temperature.
Assemble the torte:
  1. Create an 8 inch by 8 inch square frame, about three inches high, out of tinfoil. Or, use a square frame or a square pan covered with plastic wrap (leaving 3 or so inches on each side) so it's easy to take out the cake once finished. Cut a piece of hazelnut dacquoise and place at the bottom of the pan. Cut a piece of raspberry jelly and place it on the dacquoise (don't worry if it falls apart, just spread it out evenly). Spread about a third of the pastry cream over the raspberry layer. Top with another layer of dacquoise, raspberry, and pastry cream. Use the remaining pieces of dacquoise to create another layer. Top with the rest of the pastry cream and then the lemon jelly. Let sit in the fridge for at least two hours, or best overnight.
Prepare the hazelnut nougatine:
  1. Bring a third of the sugar and the light corn syrup to a boil and then add another third of the sugar once a light caramel colour forms. Cook, stirring frequently, until a medium caramel colour forms. Add the rest of the sugar and cook until the mixture is the colour of maple syrup. Add the nuts and the salt and stir to coat. Remove from heat and spread thinly on a piece of parchment paper. Let cool and then process in a food processor until finely ground. Preheat the oven to 325°F and sprinkle the powder in a small rectangle on your baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Bake for five minutes and then remove from oven, take the parchment off from the pan, place another piece of parchment on top, and roll as thin as you can. Place back into the oven for five minutes, and roll again. Keep on warming up and rolling until the nougatine is very thin. Cut into 2 by 4 inch rectangles, warming in oven if it is too hard to cut. Cool to room temperature.
Assemble the dessert:
  1. Cut off the borders of the cake, and eat these when no one is watching. Cut the cake into 2 by 4 inch pieces and top with a piece of nougatine and fresh fruit (and perhaps some chives or mint).


14 thoughts on “Raspberry Hazelnut Torte

  1. Ah! I knew it was going to be a pastry! :) I love hazelnut, and haven’t had breakfast yet, so I really want some of that right now. I’m glad that the raspberry chive torte worked for you! I am never up to *that* much experimenting. ;)

  2. Oh my. years ago er decades ago, a good friend of mine had me over for dinner. Her father prepared a cake which the batter he smeared on the tops of inverted cake pans multiple thin layers were produced for this Hungarian dessert. the layers were iced with what I suppose was a butter cream. at the time , I was working part time at a bakery e were childhood friends now high school age– so this concoction I found intriguing. All these years I suppose it was a dacquoise. I never asked or if I did I do not recollect. But the 16 layers,  that cake a sweet memory . I was a kid saw some of the prep as gee I was always chilling at the Deak’s crib!!!

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