To toast nuts:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until nuts are
brown and fragrant and the skins are starting to peel away from the nuts. Remove from oven and place
the nuts in a
clean dish towel. Roll up the towel and let the nuts 'steam' for about five minutes
and then rub the nuts to remove the skins. Let cool.
To make ground hazelnuts: Once the hazelnuts have completely cooled, place in a food processor, along with the flour
and salt, and process until
hazelnuts are finely ground. Set aside.
To make Torte: Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line the bottom of an 8 x 3 inch (20
x 7.5 cm) round cake pan or springform pan with parchment paper.
the eggs while they are still
cold, placing the yolks in one bowl and
the whites in another. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to
come to room temperature before using (this will take about 30 minutes).
in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and
butter. Remove from heat
and set aside.
In the bowl of
mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with 1/2
cup (100 grams) sugar until pale and thick (about 3 - 5 minutes). (When you raise
the beaters the mixture will slowly fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. With
a rubber spatula gently fold in the warm chocolate mixture and the nut and flour
mixture. Set aside while you
whip the egg whites.
In a clean bowl, with
the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, at medium speed, until foamy and then
cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually
remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar, beating at high speed until
stiff but not
dry. With a large spatula or whisk,
fold a small amount of the whites into
the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the remaining whites. Do not over mix
or the batter will deflate. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth
the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center
of the cake shows moist crumbs.
Cool the torte completely in
the pan on a wire rack. It will rise and then fall in the center, leaving a
higher rim of cake around the sides and there will also be some cracking and
the torte has cooled completely remove from pan. Serve with softly whipped
cover the torte with ganache if desired (recipe
Serves 10 - 12.