It’s been a long time since I have been as enamored with any cookbook as I have with Loukie Werle’s Italian Country Cooking-The Secrets of Cucina Povera. I bought it in the bargain book section several years back and it’s my favorite go to book for easy unpretentious Italian cooking. Just the words, “cucina povera” strikes a chord in my heart as I grew up eating not poverty food as in the literal translation, but foods that were seasonal and simply prepared. As in the rural cities in Italy, true country food is more often found in homes or local neighborhood restaurants than in more upmarket restaurants. However, that being said, I have dined at some very good restaurants that specialize in preparing seasonal dishes with locally grown organic produce, fresh cheeses and locally raised meats and poultry. But I digress-
The cookbook is becoming tattered and I’ve made numerous notations alongside recipes where I have substituted one ingredient for another, but the dishes have remained true to the original ones. My favorite savory recipe is the Spaghetti all Carbonara which I’ve yet to photograph and post on this blog mainly because I have prepared the dish for my family and I have had no time to set up the food styling and photography, etc.
While there are many savory recipes-pasta, rice dishes, vegetables and stews, there are only a few “sweet things” as the chapter is called, but they too are simple, yet elegant. This dense chocolate hazelnut cake is the third one I’ve made, the other two are the Torto di riso dolce-Lemon Rice Cake and the Cherry Walnut Cake.
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Hazelnuts
1 stick unsalted butter
7 ounces dark chocolate, 71% cocoa (roughly chopped)
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs separated, room temperature
1-1/4 cups finely ground hazelnuts or almonds, or a mixture
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch springform cake pan with parchment. Butter the paper and the sides of the pan. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Combine the butter, chocolate and sugar in a heatproof pan and set over simmering water, taking care that the bottom of the pan doesn’t touch the water. Heat until butter is melted and the chocolate is soft, about 5 minutes. Do not overheat the mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
Add the egg yolks one at a time to the chocolate mixture beating well after each addition so each egg in incorporated into the chocolate. Stir in the hazelnuts, almonds or a mixture into the chocolate.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Fold in the chocolate mixture, one third at a time, just until no white streaks remain. Scrape into the prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until cake is firm in the middle, with a fudgy top. Cool on a rack. Remove the sides of the pan, then gently slide cake off pan onto serving plate.
A little serendipity!
iPhone photos of Flourless Chocolate Cake with Hazelnuts
Mise en Place-Flourless Chocolate Cake with Hazelnuts
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