In my 20’s, long before I became a mom, wife, Ayurveda Wellness Counselor, or official Pacific Northwesterner, I was a serious wanderlust-er. I traveled. I visited over 25 countries and tasted all of the foods I could. But my first love of travel + food was in the back of a 16 passenger van on the way to Virginia when I was 18. (I know. It’s not what you would expect from soon-to-be college kid in the back of a van, right?)
My travel + food love affair began in the spring of 1997 with Nutella. (If you’ve never had it, don’t eat it. You won’t be able to put the spoon down. Maybe ever.) I remember my first taste of the gooey chocolate hazelnut mixture; I was on a road trip with some friends to check out a college on the east coast during my senior year in high school. My friend, Amy, pulled out a jar and a bag of pretzel sticks. She passed it around the 16 passenger van. My first taste was something akin to what I understand heroin addicts experience the first time they use. It was a magical revelation. It was transcendent. It was a brand new food reality opening up before me. I had no idea anything could taste that good. I was hooked.
The spring of 1997 sparked a long love affair with Nutella It spanned the course of three decades, four continents, and many life events in between.
- Spoonfuls of Nutella straight from the jar during college to soothe a broken heart and pad the waistline with a few post break-up pounds.
- Nutella crepes in Paris across from the Eiffel Tower on a spectacular summer evening.
- Fresh Nutella croissants in Germany, Austria, Prague, and Venice to fuel my perpetual mid-20’s wanderlust.
- A dusty, expensive jar hidden on the back of a shelf in a little shop in Victoria Falls, Zambia, (probably left over from British occupation), spread over hot, fresh chapati straight from the cooking fire.
- And yes…comforting Nutella sandwiches on not-quite-stale bread eaten at the end of an exhausting remote clinic day in the highlands of Guatemala.
I guess you could say I have strong associations with food.
Well, today I’m trying to stay true to my low sugar in 2015 intention. My husband is, too, so I wanted to make something familiar and delicious and decadent. I wanted to connect with where my life’s journey has taken and honor those travel + food experiences, even while I am in a definite season of staying close to home. But I wanted to do it all without sugar. Or flour. Or (very many) carbs. Or the inevitable self-loathing.
Behold, the Nutella Torte.
Now, I’m going to warn you…this is not low-cal. In fact, it’s high-cal. You’re going to have to watch your portion control here, but that’s okay because you’ll want to savor every bite. Remember good times. Share a memory with your family. Feel all the warm fuzzies that fill your heart as you fill your belly. Then put the damn thing away because it’s going to be tempting to eat it all in one day.
- 2 cups of finely ground hazelnut meal (you can grind your own with a food processor, or buy it for a pretty penny from WF)*
- 1 cup erythritol or 2/3 cup raw honey
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp melted butter or hazelnut oil
- 4 eggs
- 20 drops of liquid stevia (only if using erythritol)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of light cream or half & half
- 1/4 cup of water
- a pinch of salt
- a prayer of gratitude that you can eat something tastes like Nutella again
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Lightly grease a 8″ springform or round cake pan
3) Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously for about a few seconds
4) Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly
5) Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, and stir until fully incorporated
6) Pour into pan
7) Put pan into the oven for about 35 minutes, depending on your oven and altitude.
Let the torte cool quite a bit, for about one hour. I know, it’s torture. One whole hour. And it’s just staring at you. Waiting for you to top it with some fresh, home-made whipped cream sweetened only with a bit of vanilla extract and a few fresh raspberries and devour it’s warm hazelnutty-chocolatey goodness.
(*Please note that if you want to forgo hazelnut meal, you can easily substitute almond meal. One of my very favorite variations is to add a little bit of almond extract and unsweetened dried tart cherries. I also like to use unsweetened baking chocolate instead of the cocoa powder, melt it with the butter on my faux double-boiler, and add it to the wet ingredients.)
Do you have any favorite Nutella memories? Please share. You’re among friends.