I should warn you. This dessert I am about to share with you is so good that you may want to think long and hard about who you give it to. You must only give this to someone you really and truly like because they will never go away after they have a bite of this unbelievable piece of chocolate heaven. They will cling like brown on rice.
I’m not even a big fan of chocolatey desserts. They are actually the last thing I will order off of a menu, and the last thing I will make at home. I think it’s because there are so many chocolate desserts out there and very few of them are amazing…most are just a bit boring in my opinion.
But my opinion of chocolate desserts was changed the night my husband and I went out to dinner for our 7 year anniversary. We had eaten a good dinner, drank some good wine and wanted to try to end our date on a really high note so we asked for the dessert menu. There was a pumpkin cheesecake, some ice cream, some sort of pie, maybe a bread pudding, and a Chocolate Walnut Torte. We decided since it was late October, we should order the least Thanksgiving-y thing on the menu, so chocolate it was.
When I cut my fork into this thing, I almost gasped. First of all, it was ice cold. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It almost flaked off of my fork, like really cold butter. Then I put the bite in my mouth and it absolutely melted. Again, like butter. It was unbelievable. And I knew I wanted to try to recreate it. So I did. And I have to say, I did a damn good job. I added salted pretzels to the walnuts in the crust so you get this incredible contrast and symphony of sweet and salty in your mouth. Delicious.
And now I would love to share it all with you. Because I like you.
(I actually think these would be awesome as mini tortes for a party if you used mini muffin tins. Just press a small amount of crust into the bottom and sides of the muffin cups and bake for about 10 minutes. Then just spoon some of the filling into each cup and chill as instructed below.)
-Pulse 3 ounces of salted pretzels in a food processor until you get the consistency of breadcrumbs. Dump into a small bowl.
-Pulse 1 cup of raw walnuts until finely chopped (don’t take these too far or you’ll get walnut butter). Add these to the bowl with the pretzel crumbs.
-Stir in 4 TB (half a stick) of melted butter and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt.
-Mix this with a fork until the butter has moistened the crumbs.
-Dump this into a tart shell with removable sides that is 9 inches wide and 1 inch tall.
-Press it down firmly into the tart shell and up the sides.
-Bake this in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool while you make your filling…
(If you want a taller torte and have a 9″ shell with higher sides, say 3 inches or so, simply double the measurements for the filling.)
-If you don’t have a double boiler, position a large bowl over a medium saucepan with a small amount of water in it. It’s very important that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water in the saucepan. The point here is to have the steam from the boiling water underneath slowly and gently melt the chocolate.
-Place 1/2 stick (4 TB) of unsalted butter, 1 lb. of semisweet chocolate chips (a standard bag of chips are 12 ounces, so you would need 1 bag and 1/4 of another), and 1 tsp of espresso powder in the bowl. Turn the heat on medium-low and begin to stir. (I recommend doing what I failed to do- Cutting the butter up into pieces before melting, otherwise the chocolate will melt faster than the butter and your chocolate will become clumpy before the butter melts. If this happens, don’t panic. Just add more chocolate to cool it down.)
-When the mixture has melted and become smooth, turn your heat off and slowly add 1/2 cup of heavy cream (no substitutions!!) and using a whisk, mix until you get a smooth, glossy finish.
-Carefully pour this into your prepared and cooled crust (Use a towel to cover the bottom of the bowl so you don’t drip water into your crust as you’re pouring the filling in) and smooth it out with a spatula.
-Place this in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferable overnight. (It will be set after 2-3 hours, but still a bit soft. You want this to be incredibly firm when you’re serving it).
-Serve with some freshly whipped cream or nothing at all. It’s absolutely divine and rich and lovely and needs nothing but a fork and a smile.
You’ve been warned.