Tag Archives: hazelnuts

Gluten-free Goes Glam

20 May

Torta Gianduja


This weekend’s challenge was to produce something luscious and sexy that also happened to be gluten free. And I’ve found something which ticks all the boxes and more. Torta Gianduja is an Italian celebration cake, and I’ve used the Hairy Bikers recipe. (Hairy Bikers Bakeation on the BBC) I do love the lads, Si and Dave, and I must say this recipe is a real winner. However, I must point out that it requires a fair bit of effort. It’s a labour-intensive, time-consuming recipe, but hey, it’s so worth it.

You can save some time and effort by buying ready blanched hazelnuts. In fact you can save even more time and effort by buying them already ground. I did neither, so effectively added on about half an hour to my preparation time. I’ll know for the next time…

I’ll take you through it step by step.


250 g hazelnuts (blanched and ground if you’re clever)
200 g butter
200 g good quality dark chocolate (I used Lindt 85% cocoa solids – worth the extra expense)
6 large free-range eggs, separated
200 g golden caster sugar
3 tablespoons amaretto or similar liqueur. Or orange juice if you prefer.
A jar of Nutella for the topping – you’ll need about three tablespoons.

Grease and bottom line a 23 cm springform tin


First things first – prepare the hazelnuts. Preheat the oven to 200 C and spread the whole hazelnuts onto two baking trays . Pop them into the hot oven for no more than ten minutes. Give them a shake from time to time and don’t let them burn or they’ll go bitter. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before taking handfuls and rubbing them between your hands until the papery membrane rubs off. This is really easy to do.


Pop the blanche nuts into the food processor and pulse until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. They don’t have to be too finely ground, in fact a bit of texture is desirable.

Blanched and ready to grind

Break up the chocolate and cut up the butter and place together in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. The base of the bowl should not touch the water. Leave to melt. You can be grinding the hazelnuts whilst the chocolate and butter melt together.

Remove the bowl from the heat, leave to cool a little, then stir in 200 g of the ground hazelnuts. Reserve the rest for the topping.

While this mixture cools, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar. Beaat well with an electtric mixer (I used my big Kenwood on a medium speed) for a good 5 – 7 minutes, until you have a thick, pale and creamy result. Stir the sugar and yolk mixture into the choclate and hazelnuts mixture and mix well until beautifully combined.

Creamed caster sugar and egg yolks

Now wash the bowl and beaters thoroughly and place the egg whites into the bowl, whisking at medium to high speed until the egg whites are really stiff.

Now stir the liqueur (or fruit juice) into the chocolate mixture, followed by a couple of spoons of egg white. Mix lightly and quickly with a metal spoon. Add the rest of the egg white. Fold it all in as gently as possible, then scrape into the preapred tin.

Torta Gianduja – nearly there!

Place in the centre of the oven ad bake for 50 – 60 minutes. The Hairy Bikers suggested 35 – 40 minutes but I found the centre of the cake still wet and squidgy after that time and it needed almost an hour to set nicely.

Torta Gianduja

Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing the spring form tin. The cake should rise really well, souffle-like, and may sink back a little. Don’t worry.

I inverted the cake onto a serving platter to give a nice smooth, flat surface.

Spread three tablespoons of Nutella on the top of the cooled cake. Dip a metal spoon in boiling water to make iteasier to spread.

Torta Gianduja – buonissimo!

Sprinkle over the remaining ground hazelnuts.




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