Fairtrade Fortnight: Pear, Hazelnut, Chocolate & Emmer Torte
A delicious chocolate torte recipe by chef, Tom Hunt, kindly extracted for Vegan Life in celebration of Fairtrade Fortnight
Pear, hazelnut and cocoa are a classic and winning combination especially when paired with a wholesome ﬂour like emmer wheat. The malty undertones of the grain complement the tobacco-ﬂavoured, bitter-sweet dark chocolate, elevating the recipe.
I remember discovering a loaf of sugar for the ﬁrst time, I didn’t even know what it was. When I tasted it, I recall thinking how remarkably ﬂavourful it was with hints of molasses, caramel and even citrus. In desserts – such as this chocolate torte – different ﬂavoursome, unreﬁned sugars add an extra toffee-like texture and chewiness. Try swapping out regular sugar for jaggery, panela and rapadura, whenever possible, to add depth of ﬂavour and nutrients into your food.
- 250g hazelnuts
- 100g jaggery, panela, rapadura powder, or unreﬁned Fairtrade sugar, plus 1 heaped tbsp for dusting
- 75g whole emmer wheat ﬂour (or other ﬂour), plus 1 tsp for dusting
- 50g ground ﬂax/linseeds
- 2 tbspFairtrade cocoa powder, plus 1 tsp for dusting
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100ml Fairtrade extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 100ml aquafaba (see below)
- 2 pears, cores removed, cut into thin slices
- yoghurt, to serve
To make your own bean water – ‘aquafaba’:
Makes about 400ml
Soaking your own beans and peas is simple and takes very little preparation, however, it does take time. I’m usually home on a Sunday so I soak my beans, pulses and grains on a Saturday, ready to cook the next day, filling my fridge with ingredients that can be transformed into instant meals during the week.
Aquafaba or bean water makes the perfect egg replacement in most dishes and can be used to swap out from eggs in almost any recipe. Whenever you cook beans and peas, make sure you harvest the water for baking. To ensure that your bean water is thick enough, and makes a suitable replacement for egg white, use a ratio of 1:5 beans and peas to water – for example, 200g dried chickpeas to 1 litre water. Aquafaba can be stored for 5-6 days in an airtight container in the fridge, or it can be frozen in portions and thawed as required.
- 200g dried chickpeas or other beans and pulses, soaked in plenty of cold water for at least 8 hours
- 1 litre water.
- Drain the soaked legumes and tip them into a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the water and bring to the boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Place the lid on top, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1–11/2 hours, or until they are tender. Once they are cooked, turn off the heat and leave them to cool in the cooking liquid.
- Store the chickpeas and their water together, for extra potency, straining the cooking liquid (the aquafaba) to use as a replacement for egg whites in recipes, as required. (The legumes can be turned into houmous or used to bulk out soups or stews.)
To make the torte:
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 and pop a large baking tray inside to heat up.
- To make your own hazelnut ﬂour, scatter the hazelnuts over the preheated baking tray and roast in the oven for 8 minutes. Set aside until cold, then pulse-blend to a powder. Add the sugar, ﬂour, ground ﬂax/linseeds, cocoa powder, baking powder, olive oil and aquafaba and pulse blend until combined.
- Grease a 23cm ovenproof ﬂan dish or similar with a little olive oil and dust with 1 teaspoon ﬂour and 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, turning the dish to coat the base and sides. Knock out any excess.
- Spoon the torte mixture into the prepared dish, spreading evenly, and arrange the slices of pear randomly on top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pudding is golden and risen.
- To make your own icing sugar, blend 1 heaped tablespoon of your chosen sugar in a spice grinder or blender to a ﬁne powder. Dust the torte with the icing sugar and remaining cocoa powder and serve with yoghurt on the side.
Extra Recipe – Reduced Aquafaba Binding Agent
Makes about 200ml
Aquafaba is also useful as a binding agent, after it has been reduced to make it more proteinous.
- To make reduced aquafaba, follow the recipe above but after the chickpeas have cooled, strain off the liquid into a clean saucepan and set over a medium heat. Boil away gently, without covering, until reduced by half.
- Set aside to cool and store in the fridge until needed.
Root to Fruit manifesto:
Root to Fruit Eating means: eating for pleasure, eating whole foods from the whole farm, whilst eating the best food we can and indulging in seasonal foods that are tasty, nutritious and inherently restorative for ourselves and the planet.
1 Eat for pleasure
1.1 Cook with love, confidence & creativity
1.2 Support biodiversity
1.3 Know your farmer
2 Eat whole foods
2.1 Produce no waste
2.2 Eat mostly plants
2.3 Eat local seasonal foods
3 Eat the best food you can
3.1 Support better farming
3.2 Buy Fairtrade
3.3 Act like your actions matter
Recipes from Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet by Tom Hunt
(£26 hardback, published by Kyle Books 19 March 2020, octopusbooks.co.uk).
Photography by Jenny Zarins.