Three things I must do before I die:
1. Visit Australia. . . . check!
2. Run a marathon again and again. . . . check!
3. Make a chocolate walnut torte with raspberry sauce that makes me happy to be alive. . . . CHECK!
I spent almost six months in Brisbane, Australia at the University of Queensland while in college for a semester abroad. I reveled in the beauty of the jacarinda trees, the desert pea plants, discovered the goodness of imported beer (thus making me the beer snob I am today), and longed for a kitchen to bake in at least once. Living in the university dormitory Cromwell College had its benefits of a room to myself, my own desk, and a hall full of interesting people with which to talk. Although I pined for my friends back home, I knew one creature comfort could be met if I was industrious enough to find a place to do it. Baking.
Many nights were spent in the cave-like room that housed some now antiquated and laughable computers used for email. When it was Bitnet. Like eons ago. That’s totally dating myself and my college experience. Anyway, I noted on these trips to the basement that there was a lonely electric oven sitting in the corner, unused and ignored, nary a sweet or savory aroma wafting from it. That settled it. I had to use it.
That attempted excursion to the lonely oven fluffed up the feathers of the college manager Miss Darymple. Or should I say rumpled the ‘Rymple. You see, I had to bake that day. I had chocolate pudding fruit. And butter. And flour. It was destiny. Cookies were calling to me: Liiiiiiiiiiiisa….you must maaaaaaaaake us…..
After the rumply ‘Rymple explained that there was a lock on the oven’s gas line and must be removed with some elusive key, she poked around a few office drawers, sighed a few times, and came up jangling a tarnished keyring with said key. She waddled downstairs with me, still a bit annoyed that I disrupted a perfectly boring day, and unlocked the oven for my use.
I offered her the fruits of my labor. No thank you, she said with a half smile. She grunted herself back upstairs, leaving me and my other American friend, Beth, to make and feast on our cookies.
I can’t say they were all that chocolatey, or even the best cookies I’d ever had, but warm buttery smell of the usually dingy basement was certainly an improvement. And plus, it was nature’s chocolate, chocolate pudding fruit, that was the inspiration to bake that day. Sometimes it’s the little things that come together and make things even bigger, better than you thought. And here’s is where my recipe today comes in.
No chocolate pudding fruit here (I can’t find it anywhere in the U.S.). No basement lock-and-key oven needed. Chocolate. Walnuts. Butter. Sugar. Eggs. Raspberries. Raspberries. Lots of patience. Little things but with a huge reward. Chocolate Walnut Torte that will blow your mind.
- 1 pound + 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (511 grams)
- 1⅓ cups whipping cream (325 ml)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (175 ml)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar (250 ml)
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped (125 ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (5 ml)
- pinch of salt
- Raspberry Coulis (recipe follows in Notes section)
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
- Butter a 10-inch spring form pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream and butter together just to a simmer. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and let sit 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until smooth.
- Whisk together eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla in another bowl
- Pour egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Blend thoroughly with a whisk, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally. Gently fold in the walnuts until just combined.
- Pour into prepared spring form pan.* Bake until edges are set and center is still slightly soft, about 2¼ to 2½ hours. (I baked mine for 2 hours and 20 minutes.) Allow torte to cool in the pan at room temperature. Chill the torte in the pan completely in the refrigerator overnight before serving.** Serve with raspberry coulis.