You are going to love this rich chocolate dessert!
Prep Time: 20minutes
Cook Time: 45minutes
1cupwhole, raw pistachios (see headnote), plus extra chopped pistachios for garnish(5 ounces)
7ouncesunsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped (see headnote)
1cupsugar (divided use)(7 ounces)
7large egg whites(1 cup / 8 ounces)
1/4teaspooncream of tartar
powdered sugar or cocoa powder, for dusting
sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350º. Grease a 9" springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
Spread the nuts on a small baking sheet and toast lightly in the oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely (spread on a plate and stick in the fridge to speed this up - do not grind hot nuts with the chocolate and sugar or it will melt the chocolate).
In a food processor, whizz together the thoroughly cooled nuts, the chocolate, the salt and half of the sugar until finely ground but not powdered. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or with electric beaters, or with a whisk and your brute strength) beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-high speed until foamy. Still whipping, slowly add in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue whipping until soft peaks form (i.e., when you lift the whisk out and hold it upside-down, a peak will flop over; see photo in post, above). Immediately but gently fold in 1/3 of the chocolate mixture using a large, rubber spatula, until mostly combined. Fold in half the remaining chocolate mixture, then the rest, until incorporated, and no large clumps of either nuts or egg white remain.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the torte is puffed, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, or smeared with a bit of melted chocolate, 30 - 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Remove the sides from the pan, and invert the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment, and then re-invert it onto a serving plate.
Dust with powdered sugar or cocoa, and serve with whipped cream and chopped pistachios, if desired.
Adapted from Claudia Roden's torta di mandorle e cioccolata in her Book of Jewish Food, via Alice Medrich's Pure DessertSince this recipe contains few ingredients, use a high-quality unsweetened chocolate; Scharffenberger and Valrhona are two excellent brands. For the nuts, you can use almonds or hazels in place of the pistachios; walnuts or pecans would probably work, too. The cream of tartar here is used not as a leavener, but as an acid to stabilize the egg white meringue; if making this for a kosher Passover, you can omit the cream of tartar.Nutritional values are based on one of ten servings.