Flourless Chocolate Walnut Torte with Pinot-Noir-Laced Strawberries

Valentine's Day is synonymous with chocolate. Heart-shaped boxes of it, faux-roses shaped from it, kisses and various red and pink and white candies made from it. Yes, we had to have chocolate in our Valentine's Day dessert. And for good measure, something needed to be red. So when Amy spotted this recipe from Dean and Deluca in an old folder on her computer, she knew it was The One, since it had all the necessary V-Day requirements: chocolate, strawberries and red wine. Perfect.

Amy entered into making this dessert a bit hesitantly, having suffered some baking fails in recent memory. And this one seems, at first glance, to be complicated. However, it's not so much complicated as it has several steps, none of which are very difficult, especially if you've made meringues before. Which we have.

Amy poured the berries out of the container and they formed a heart!
(okay, that didn't really happen...)

Use a nice bottle of pinot. You can drink the rest!

Strawberries, pinot noir and sugar

Start to finish, this recipe took about an hour, then it needed time to cool. We didn't bother with the whipped cream, but sprinkled each slice with a light dusting of confectioner's sugar. The torte was light as air, with lots of crunch from the nuts and hints of chocolate that weren't too overpowering. The pinot-noir-laced berries were divine, with their intense berry-sweetness. We loved it, neighbors B, D and J loved it, and Joanne loved it. This one's a real keeper!

Egg yolks mixed with sugar until pale yellow in color

Egg whites mixed with sugar, until stiff glossy peaks form

Fold ingredients together and pour into prepared springform pan

The finished product

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Torte with Pinot-Laced Strawberries

1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Pinot Noir
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and halves (reserve a couple for a garnish!)
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 ounces chopped walnuts
confectioners sugar

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and Pinot Noir. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and allow to sit for 2-3 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale in color. Gradually beat in the 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until the mixture is thickened. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in the 5 tablespoons of sugar into the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Alternately fold the chopped chocolate, chopped walnuts and egg white meringue mixture into the yolk mixture by thirds until well blended. Pour into the parchment-lined springform pan and bake about 30 minutes, until the torte is firm to the touch, does not jiggle when shaken, has risen to the top of the pan, and has turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool inside the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, run a knife around the edges of the pan to detach. Invert onto a plate and peel off the parchment paper. Invert again onto a serving plate. Cut the torte into wedges and top with strawberries and a dusting of confectioners sugar.


Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Oh, my, this combination of flavors must taste amazing...great dessert!

Choc Chip Uru said...

The cake and presentation are both divine - what a wonderful recipe :)

Choc Chip Uru
Latest: Healthiest Natural Sugars Muesli Bars

Eliotseats said...

I don't know what I want more, that cake or some of those strawberries.

yummychunklet said...

This sounds fantastic, but you had me at pinor-laced strawberries!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Oh my, this is a dessert that makes me want to dive right in and have a huge slice. Strawberries are the perfect topping for a rich chocolate dessert. This goes right to the top of my recipe stack. Thanks.

Dreams of cakes said...

Flourless torte! I already saved this recipe in my favorite recipe list. Thanks so much for sharing.