If you’ve been following along for a bit you know that over the course of the past year I’ve picked up and moved, right coast to left. If you’ve been following along longer than a bit, you know that what prefaced that move was the realization that what I used to do to earn a living was no longer an option, and like so many of my brethren in the unintentional leisure class, I needed to do something different. In my case, that something was completely different. Fast-forward exactly six months from pulling into my driveway in the Beaver State, and that something has turned into an officially-registered-in-the-State-of-OR business called Cooking in My Heels. Catchy name, huh?
How this all transpired is an interesting tale, and certainly not one well planned out from the beginning. Yes, there was a bit of intention on my part, and more than a bit of a plan. Without that it’s safe to say I’d soon be wondering if Prada made straightjackets, and could I please have raisins in my oatmeal and a nice view from my room in the asylum. To attempt any of this without some structured idea of how you’d go about it is pretty much the definition of insanity. Hell, starting a business even with a plan takes a little bit of crazy. But a few things just sort of happened, the idea started to click, and crazy wasn’t looking all that crazy anymore. In other words, it evolved, just like I seem to be doing these days. Somehow the seed of a daydream metamorphosed into plan, and plan, along with a $50 filing fee, became business. Seems fitting, since it’s very fertile ground here. I think it has something to do with the weather. And the wine. Definitely the wine.
So now I move onto the next six months, and try to take this thing I’ve created and grow it into something that will pay the bills. Becoming the Donald Trump of chocolate truffles and certain baked goods is daunting to be sure, but there are some pretty terrific people in my life who think I can do this. I find it wise not to discourage people who believe in me. So move over Donald, here I come. Maybe chocolate truffles and breadsticks won’t land me a Tower, a casino, or any apprentices, but I know one thing for sure – The Karin has much better hair.
Cookinginmyheels.com has many facets to it, easily checked out with a click. But here in the blogdom it’s all about one thing – the food. Recently I was testing out flourless chocolate cakes to find a variation I’d like to offer to the gluten-free crowd. Most often flourless cakes take on an almost pudding quality, but I was looking for something that had a little more structure and complexity. Happily, I didn’t have to go any further than good old Epicurious. This Gianduia Torte has a base of finely chopped roasted hazelnuts, giving the torte its distinctive European chocolate truffle flavor and name. They also give it great texture and a little crunch. Enrobing in a simple chocolate ganache finishes the torte. It’s incredibly rich, decadent, and hopefully a best seller!
(Bon Appétit, December 1997)
- 7 oz. (1 ½ cups) hazelnuts, toasted, husked, plus a few extra whole or half nuts for decorating
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 5 oz. (10 TBSP) salted butter
- 7 large egg yolks
- 9.5 oz. (3/4 cup) sugar
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
- ½ cup cream
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8-inch-diameter spring form pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Butter parchment. Wrap outside of pan with foil. Finely grind hazelnuts in processor. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool chocolate mixture to room temperature.
Bake until cake is set and appears dry but tester comes out with very moist crumbs attached, about 35-45 minutes. Transfer to rack. Lightly press down any raised edges of cake. Cool completely. Run small knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto platter. Remove pan bottom. Peel off parchment. Slide waxed paper strips under cake to protect platter.
To make the ganache glaze: Heat the cream until just before boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour onto the cooled torte, and spread out to overflow the sides. Smooth top and sides. Decorate the top of the torte with whole or half toasted hazelnuts. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.)
Variations: This cake can be made into individual small cakes in a muffin tin. Butter paper muffin liners, and fill ¾ of the way full with the batter. Bake about 20 minutes, testing for doneness at about 15 minutes. Let cool completely before removing the paper cups. Glaze with chocolate ganache and decorate with whole or half hazelnuts.
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