Flourless Chocolate Torte

This is a decadent gluten-free dessert and is the perfect ending to a special dinner. It is easy to make and touches all the right flavour notes. It is rich, with right level of sweetness, dense, and intense. This is my go-to chocolate torte recipe and the best part is that all my friends love it.

Flourless Chocolate Torte


8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
1 lb. best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
6 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar

Ganache (makes about 15 truffles)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 lb. best-quality dark chocolate


Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan with butter, line the bottom with a parchment-paper round and grease the parchment with butter. Wrap the outside of the pan with a large sheet of aluminum foil.

In a heatproof bowl, combine the 8 Tbs. butter and the chocolates. Set the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan and heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Stir in the Kahlua, vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool slightly. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and the 3/4 cups sugar until creamy, then fold in the chocolate mixture.

Place the spring-form pan in a large roasting pan, transfer to the oven and pour about 1 inch of very hot water into the roasting pan. Place the torte in the water bath. Bake for about 45-50 minutes until the center of the torte is set

Remove the torte from the water bath, discard the aluminum foil and let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Remove the spring-form pan sides, then invert the torte onto a greased sheet of parchment paper. Lift off the pan bottom, peel off the parchment round, turn the torte right side up onto a cake plate and let cool completely.

For ganache, bring the cream almost to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Stir gently and leave to cool. Using fingers, shape the ganache into small balls and coat them in cocoa powder, then chill for about two hours. Decorate the torte with truffles.

This recipe can serve 8-12 people.

Note: The recipes on this site are my original creations or have been adapted from existing recipes with the original sources attributed. All recipes on this site have been tested at least once in my kitchen. Any and all errors are entirely mine.

Copyright© 2013 . All My Nosh . All Rights Reserved


Chocolate: The Basics

Often people ask me about the types of chocolate I use in my desserts and the variations between the different types of chocolate. So here you will find some basic information that will demystify chocolate. Chocolate is generally divided into two distinct categories: (1) Real Chocolate; and, (2) Compound Chocolate. Both real chocolate and compound chocolate are chocolate – the difference is the type of lipid (fat) or oil used in the production.

Real Chocolate

Real chocolate contains cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cacao bean. Cocoa butter is an expensive ingredient which has some unusual characteristics or quirks. Because of the nature of cocoa butter, real chocolate requires going through a special procedure during the melting process called tempering, which re-establishes the cocoa butter crystals, giving the cooled and finished chocolate the proper sheen, snap and taste. Additionally, and of vital importance, tempering prevents bloom, where the cocoa butter separates from the cocoa solids and comes to the surface, turning the chocolate whitish or grayish in color. If you are making candy or dipping items that won’t be consumed within a day or so, tempering is absolutely mandatory for all real chocolate.

Real chocolate is subdivided into three (3) categories based on the quality of the product (quality of the cocoa beans) and most importantly, the cocoa butter content: regular chocolate, couverture chocolate, and ultra couverture chocolate.

Regular chocolate comes typically in chocolate chip form and it is sweetened with sugar. It is generally made from moderate quality cocoa beans and has very low cocoa butter content and a high viscosity (thickness when in a melted state). Generally used in baking (e.g., chocolate chip cookies, cakes, etc.), regular chocolate holds its shape and is not the best choice when molding, dipping or enrobing. Another form of regular chocolate is unsweetened blocks or bars of baking chocolate (also called plain chocolate), which generally has a relatively low cocoa butter content and doesn’t require tempering when used in normal baking applications. I use this type of chocolate for general baking and it is a decent (i.e., cost-effective) choice for chocolate cakes or cookies. Baker’s Chocolate is a popular brand in this category and is widely available in North American supermarkets.

Couverture chocolate: The term couverture translates to “covering” and refers to the finest professional quality chocolate. It is produced with a high percentage of cocoa butter and uses premium cacao beans. A couverture has at least 55% cacao content, that is, either/or coco butter and cocoa solids. To put it another way, couverture contains a maximum of 45% sugar content. It melts smoothly, making it ideal for specialty confectionary-making and molding. When tempered and cooled, it forms an elegant glossy finish. I use either Callebaut or Valrhona. They are equally good products and reasonably priced but I prefer Valrhona. If you have deeper pockets, you can consider Michel Cluizel. I always use couverture chocolate for chocolate mousse, chocolate torte, ganache and covering.

Ultra couverture chocolate is equal in quality to couverture chocolate, but with even higher cocoa butter content. Due to the higher cocoa butter content and very low viscosity, it is the perfect chocolate for dipping and enrobing. Few manufacturers are able to successfully produce this type of chocolate because of the difficulty in balancing the higher cocoa butter content while retaining superb taste and texture. When tempered and cooled, it forms a thin and elegant glossy shell. I seldom use ultra couverture chocolate, but Michel Cluizel makes excellent products in this category. If you love hot chocolate, this recipe made with ultra couverture chocolate will give you an excellent cup of hot chocolate. Unless you are a master chocolatier or a chocolate connoisseur, you can just use couverture chocolate instead of ultra couverture.

Compound Chocolate

Compound chocolate contains vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter and tempering is not required. They are often used in lower-grade candy bars like Butterfinger and Baby Ruth. Generally, they have low cocoa solids percentage and high vegetable fats/tropical fats such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil instead of cocoa butter. However, home hobbyists and professionals alike have utilized compound chocolate due to its ease of use and lower price. Some high quality chocolate manufactures also make compound chocolates. For example, Callebaut’s compounds are ready to use and no tempering needed. They mimic dark, milk and white chocolate, and with their technical specifications, they match even the most specific applications. In textures, they offer a choice ranging from the hard chocolate-like crack to a smooth and soft texture.

About White Chocolate and Milk Chocolate

Technically, white chocolate cannot be called “chocolate” because it does not contain chocolate liquor. White chocolate is the combination of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, vanilla, and lecithin, and is able to be kept from 6-10 months if stored in a cool, dry place. Generally, white chocolate is ivory-colored, but white chocolate which is made with vegetable fat is white-colored. White chocolate was first made in Switzerland after World War I by Nestlé in 1930 under the name Galak. In the US, white chocolate was first made in New Hampshire by the M&M Candy company. In 1948 Nestlé popularized white chocolate by introducing the Alpine White chocolate bar containing white chocolate and chopped almonds. If you have to use white chocolate, make sure to get a good product. One of the best white chocolates I ever tasted was Davao White Chocolate Bar by Askinosie. It’s unfortunately too expensive for baking. Both Callebaut and Valrhona make excellent white chocolates at reasonable price points. Their ingredients are high-quality so the flavors are pronounced.

Milk chocolate, on the other hand, is the combination of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, vanilla, milk solids, and lecithin. This type of chocolate could be kept up to a year if stored in a cool, dry place. Milk chocolate must contain at least 10% of cocoa liquor, 3.7% milk fats, and 12% milk solids. The US regulations require a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor while EU regulations specify a minimum of 25% chocolate liquor. The use of cocoa butter substitutes in Canada is not permitted, and chocolate sold in Canada cannot contain vegetable fats or oils. This makes European milk chocolate better than American milk chocolate, because the more chocolate liquor added the more delicious it gets. In baking milk chocolate and other low cocoa solid chocolates are not really appropriate as they have a weak chocolate flavour which dissipates during baking do a finer chocolate is necessary.

How to Select Chocolate

Not all chocolates are created equal, and in general, there is a strong correlation between quality and price. I am not suggesting that you should always buy the most expensive chocolate, but keep in mind that high-quality chocolates with large amounts of cocoa butter and cocoa solids will cost more than their inferior counterparts. The quality of chocolate you use will be the primary determining factor of how the finished chocolate confectionary taste.

Most of the high quality chocolates are made from cacao beans grown in Central America, especially Venezuela where the Criollo variety of cocao beans are grown. Like wine, selecting chocolate is a sensory experience. So here are some pointers to consider when you select chocolate:

  • Before you taste the chocolate, look at it closely. You want chocolate that has a glossy surface and is free from blemishes. If the surface is scarred, cloudy, or gray, this may be a sign that the chocolate is old or has been subject to extremes in temperature or handling.
  • Next, break the chocolate in pieces. You want a chocolate with a clean, hard “snap” to it. If it bends or crumbles, either the quality is low or the chocolate is old.
  • Good chocolate will smell strongly of chocolate. Rub your fingers over the surface to warm the chocolate, and then smell the bar. If it doesn’t smell like chocolate, or if it smells primarily of vanilla or other added ingredients, it probably won’t taste very much like chocolate either. Chocolate easily picks up odours from its environment.
  • Finally, taste the chocolate. Pay attention to the way it melts in your mouth. In general, a smooth, velvety feel is preferred. Chewy, dense, waxy, slippery or sandy feel suggest poor quality. Also notice what flavours you can find in the chocolate. Common descriptions of chocolate notes include floral, citrus, berry, coffee, and wine undertones. Notice if the flavour bursts out all at once or if it gradually builds in intensity and lingers after the chocolate has left. Above all, trust your own taste buds. Chocolate preference is very personal, and you know what tastes good to you, so select chocolate that you will enjoy eating.

High Quality Brands

There are many, many different brands of chocolate and chocolate manufacturers to choose from. Names to look for include: Callebaut, Amedei, Bonnat, Michel Cluizel, El Rey, Guittard, Valrhona, and Scharffen Berger. There are numerous other high quality chocolate brands who do not currently sell their products in the US and Canada like Bernachon and Chocolaterie de L’Opera (France), Corné de la Toison d’Or (Belgium), Haigh’s Chocolates (Australia) and Ludwig Weinrich (Germany). Apart from these well known brands, you can also find artisan chocolatiers in your local area. If you are in the Toronto area, try SOMA, LeFeuvre’s Chocolatier, and/or Ambiance Chocolat.


If you are interested in learning more about chocolate and chocolate confectionary, here are some excellent sources:

  • Allchocolate: An excellent website for all sorts of information about chocolate, from the rich history of chocolate to health benefits of chocolate.
  • The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz: Written by a well known pastry chef, this book gives information on how chocolate is made, terminology, buying, storage, notable American and European chocolatiers and some recipes.
  • The True History of Chocolate by Sophie Coe and Michael Coe: You get a good understanding of the significance of chocolate in Mayan and Aztec culture, followed by a thorough history of the evolution of chocolate.
  • Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé: This is a book written for those who have a little baking experience and are looking to expand their horizons, and most of the recipes here are geared towards intermediate pastry chefs.
  • Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner by Peter P. Greweling and the Culinary Institute of America: This is a serious chocolate book for serious chocolate people. This book is heavy on the science of chocolate. The recipes and formulas are extremely precise and assume a fair amount of interest in the chemistry and molecular structures of things. But, if you have the interest, this book will be one of the most fascinating books you can find on the subject of chocolate confectionary.
  • The Art of the Chocolatier: From Classic Confections to Sensational Showpieces by Ewald Notter: Written by a renowned confectionery expert, this is an excellent guide to chocolate making and chocolate showpiece design. Tilled a bit towards the professionals, it covers basic information on ingredients, equipment, and common techniques in the pastry kitchen, while also offering clear, step-by-step instructions on creating small candies and large-scale chocolate pieces.

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”
Katherine Hepburn (1907-2003)

Photo credits: http://www.callebaut.com for Callebaut products and http://www.valrhona.com for Valrhona products.

Copyright© 2012 . All My Nosh . All Rights Reserved

Brookside Dark Chocolate Fruit Crunch

Life can be stressful sometimes. However, I have found just the thing to give a quick pick-me-up: Brookside Dark Chocolate Fruit Crunch. I think the name most certainly doesn’t do the taste justice so let me preface my review with a preamble that it should be called “best things come in small things”. Brookside has elegantly blended cranberries, fruit juice pieces (aҫai, blueberry and pomegranate), crunchy rice crisps, and whole grain oats with a chewy truffle centre covered in rich dark chocolate. Each delicious chocolate drenched nugget is unique and absolutely delicious! I fell in love with it after my first bite.

It is a Canadian-made product (the best things all are), and I found it in my local supermarket. I usually gravitate to dark chocolate when I indulge (or binge) in cocoa so this seemed like a good supermarket splurge. One third cup (or 40g) of these tasty gems sets you back 190 calories (surely, that doesn’t break the calorie bank), but I can’t keep my hand out of the bag. Last time I had them I finished the whole package in one sitting. For me anything with chocolate is here today and gone today. So my chocolate binges invariably lead to extra long cardio workouts. But, few extra laps have been well worth the gratification I get from chocolate.

Brookside has eight different chocolate and fruit/nut pairings, from Dark Chocolate Mango Mangosteen to Dark Chocolate Goji and Raspberry. If you are looking for a better reason to indulge in chocolate you can go for Goji and Raspberry – according to the package, a 40g portion has 60mg of cocoa flavanols which means it’s full of antioxidants and good for you. And, the goji berry apparently has been used for thousands of years by herbalists as a remedy for all kinds of ailments. A friend tried Dark Chocolate Goji and Raspberry and she tells me it is a good one to try if you like something sweet and a little tangy.

Any excuse to eat chocolate is alright by me. But, do you really need a reason to have chocolate? I think not!

“If you are not feeling well, if you have not slept, chocolate will revive you. But you have no chocolate! I think of that again and again! My dear, how will you ever manage?”
Marquise de Sévigné (1626 – 1696)

Copyright© 2012 . All My Nosh . All Rights Reserved

Chocolate by Trish Deseine

I love chocolate. I am not going to lie – I am a chocovore! I always wonder what the world would look like without chocolate. I also have a fetish for cook books, not just to try new recipes but also to read and to learn as much as I can about food. Recently, I have delved into many forms of chocolate and chocolate-based desserts. So I’ve really given a lot of thought on how to make sweet creations with chocolate. I came across Chocolate by Trish Deseine sometime ago and have so far tried several recipes from her book.

When I opened the book I was tempted beyond my ability to say ‘no’ to many recipes. The first recipe to try was The Best Brownies (p. 10). In my opinion, everyone should have a good chocolate brownie recipe and it should be the richest, gooiest chocolate brownie, so you don’t have to eat too much of it (yeah, I know). And this recipe was just that – the richest, moistest, most decadent brownie you could ever imagine.

I also tried Natalie’s Melt-in-Your-Mouth Chocolate Cake (p. 14). The decadent, almost flourless, chocolate cake was timeless, elegant and made you feel so good. It was even more perfect with some good accompaniments found in p.12 to cut through the sweetness. Her recipe for Triple Chocolate Brownie Crunch (p. 94) is so fabulously divine. This is a dish you won’t just stop at one helping. I made one change to the recipe; I used added Khalua to the milk chocolate sauce.

So far recipes for Banoffee, Emmanuelle’s Chocolate Cookie Cake, Jean-Francois’s Stuck Cake and Butterfly Cupcakes have kept me busy. If none of those interest you then there are others that will inspire you to search for chocolate. I must admit that all my attempts so far at making Triple Chocolate Pavé (p. 22) resulted in failure – I was never able to get the consistency of the white chocolate layer right.

Trish Deseine provides 100 or so simple and very do-able recipes, each one accompanied by stunning photographs (more like chocolate porn). The recipes are categorized into practical groupings, such as Chocolate with Crunch, Chocolate for Kids, Chic Chocolate and Chocotherapy. For some, working with chocolate could be an intimidating task. So the book also includes a section on the tricks and techniques and the various tools used in professional kitchens to carve, mould, melt and form chocolate to suit every possible need.

Verdict: This book has become my favourite chocolate cook book because recipes in it are magnificent creations that make me and many of my friends very happy. The book lives up to Trish Deseine’s media hype but that fact does not undervalue its credibility. Chocolate by Trish Deseine was ranked 4th among the 50 best cook books by The Independent in 2008.

4.5 Stars out of 5.

Publisher: Whitecap Books Ltd. (January 1, 2010)

Copyright© 2012 . All My Nosh . All Rights Reserved

Ritter Sport Marzipan

Recently, I tried to ration my chocolate consumption by buying smaller chocolate bars. So I grew curious about Ritter Sport bars. I mean curious in the same sense that junkies are curious about drugs. Each 100 gram square-shaped bar is divided into 16 smaller squares, creating a four-by-four pattern. With 190 calories per 6 squares, this is a great contender for my chocolate cravings.

Ritter has a 100 year-old history of making chocolate bars. In 1912, Alfred Ritter and his wife, Clara Ritter, founded a chocolate factory in Inner Moltkestrasse in Bad Cannstatt, Germany. When production needs required a factory expansion, the company moved to Waldenbuch in 1930, a couple of miles outside Stuttgart. The chocolate brand Ritter’s Sport Schokolade produced as the square tablet known today was launched in 1932 after Frau Ritter suggested creating a chocolate bar that would fit into every sport jacket pocket without breaking. Ritter has also done some innovative stuff with their packaging. In 1976, Ritter Sport invented the pack with the snap – simply flip the bar over and then snap it in two along the dotted line.

I picked up a Ritter Sport Marzipan bar – dark chocolate with marzipan center. Dark chocolate and marzipan are two of my favourite sweet flavours and I couldn’t resist tasting this bar. Ritter’s dark chocolate is made from West African cocoa and cocoas from Papua New Guinea and Madagascar with 50% cocoa content. I really enjoyed the non-flakiness of dark chocolate and it had a subtle enough flavour that I enjoyed it a lot. Dark chocolate was bitter in a very pleasant way. The marzipan layer had the right thickness and was nicely moist. The marzipan flavour was great with right balance of sweetness without overpowering the dark chocolate notes. Altogether, there was a great balance of bitterness of chocolate and creamy texture of marzipan. Dark Chocolate with Marzipan is probably the most delicious thing that can happen to almonds.

While I was munching on the Ritter Sport bar I was comparing it to the Niederegger chocolate covered marzipan loaf. I think the Ritter version is on par with Niederegger in terms of flavour profile, although the latter has a thicker marzipan center. My original plan was to savour only six squares (190 calories); but, it was pretty decadent and I didn’t feel it is fair to Mr and Mrs Ritter if I only eat six sections at a sitting. I would certainly buy Ritter Sport Marzipan bar again, but I would try other Ritter Sport flavours before making this my favourite Ritter. After all, not including seasonal and limited edition flavours, Ritter Sport has over 25 varieties. I have more to taste, indeed.

Note: The photo of first Ritter factory is from http://www.ritter-sport.us.

Copyright© 2012 . All My Nosh . All Rights Reserved