170g (1¼ cup) roasted hazelnuts
170g (1 cup) medjool dates
170g dark chocolate (good quality)
4 egg whites
112g (½ cup) caster sugar
300ml thickened cream
2 teaspoons pure icing sugar
Preheat oven to 160ºC. Grease a 23cm round springform cake pan and line the base with baking paper.
Hazelnuts can be bought roasted, but if bought un-roasted they will need to be placed on a baking tray lined with baking paper (shells can be left on) and baked at 180ºC for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then remove shells (it won’t matter if some shell remains). Transfer to a food processor and process into small pieces (or use a knife).
Wash the dates lightly, then dry with paper towel. Remove the seeds and chop dates finely.
The chocolate needs to be broken down into small pieces. This can be done using a food processor, or by carefully chopping or grating the chocolate by hand.
Place the hazelnuts, dates and chocolate in a large bowl and stir to combine. Separate any dates that clump together.
In a large bowl beat egg whites with electric beaters, until small peaks form. Add a few tablespoons of the caster sugar and beat until sugar has dissolved. Gradually add the remaining sugar in batches, dissolving after each addition. Mixture should be glossy and thick after the final addition.
Add a few heaped tablespoons of the egg white mixture to the hazelnuts, dates and chocolate mix, stirring gently until combined. Add remaining egg white mixture and continue stirring gently until fully combined.
Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin, and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or a rounded knife.
Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the outside of the torte is golden and crisp.
Remove from the oven and place pan on a cooling rack or board. Cover with a dry, clean tea towel and allow to cool. Once cool, run a rounded blade knife between the sides of the cake and the pan, then release the base from the springform pan. Turn the cake upside down and turn it out onto a serving plate or board. Remove the baking paper from the top.
Cover cake with gladwrap or place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, whip cream in a large bowl. As cream begins to thicken add pure icing sugar, and continue beating until thickened (do not over whip). Spread torte with whipped cream. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape the blade across the chocolate to produce chocolate shavings and sprinkle over the cream. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Note: Dried dates can be used instead of fresh medjool dates. Other nuts such as almonds or walnuts can be used in place of hazelnuts. Milk chocolate can be used in place of dark if preferred.