The Hubs decided to treat himself with dessert for Father’s Day and when he eyeballed this Flourless Chocolate Torta in the latest Milk Street magazine, he knew it was the ticket! Rich, light and flourless, this Italian cake is a fudgy, brownie-like dessert created by Eugenio Gollini of the medieval town of Vignola back in 1886.
In reinventing this cake, Milk Street found that peanut flour, one of the most distinctive ingredients of the original Gollini torta, could be omitted without sacrificing flavor or texture. Instead they use almond flour which provides an equally flavorful and moist cake—and is much easier to source.
Instant espresso powder accentuates the deep, roasty, bitter notes and a dose of dark rum lifts the flavors with its fieriness. Serve with lightly sweetened mascarpone, whipped cream, or with vanilla gelato or ice cream—in our case, it was with a non-dairy oat vanilla brand that our lactose intolerant guests loved.
Don’t use natural cocoa. The recipe will still work, but the cake will be lighter in color and not quite as deep in flavor as when made with Dutch-processed cocoa. Take care not to overbake thecake. Remove it from the oven when a toothpick inserted at the center comes out with a few sticky crumbs clinging to it. After 30 to 45 minutes of cooling, the cake is inverted out of the pan; don’t worry about re-inverting it. True torta Barozzi is left upside-down for cutting and serving.
10 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 10 pieces, plus more for the pan
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
¾ cup white sugar, divided
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. table salt
3 Tbsp. dark rum
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Butter an 8-inch square pan, line the bottom with a parchment square and butter the parchment.
In a medium saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, cocoa and espresso powder. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to soften, then whisk until the mixture is smooth; cool until barely warm to the touch.
In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks and ½ cup of the sugar until lightened and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until homogeneous. Add the almond flour and salt, then whisk until fully incorporated. Whisk in the rum; set aside.
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium-high until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar, then beat until the whites hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes.
Add about a third of the whipped whites to the yolk-chocolate mixture and fold with a silicone spatula to lighten and loosen the base. Scrape on the remaining whites and gently fold in until no streaks remain. Transfer to the prepared pan and gently shake or tilt the pan to level the batter.
Bake until the cake is slightly domed and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 to 45 minutes; the cake will deflate slightly as it cools.
Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert onto a platter; if needed, peel off and discard the parchment. Cool completely. Dust with cocoa before serving.
Each Winter holiday season, along with my tried-and-true decorated sugar cookies, I like to introduce at least one new recipe to the fold. This year we were struck by the chocolatey appearance of these Pizzettes in the latest Bon Appétit magazine, and knew they had to become part-and-parcel of our baking agenda.
They are an Italian classic with fudgy texture, piercing bittersweet chocolate, almonds, citrus zest, and a heady undertone of cinnamon and clove. They sounded so good, I decided to make a double batch in addition to double batches of three other cookie batters—all on the same morning!
Please note, that the almonds need to be blitzed in the food processor and the chocolate chips should be chopped before adding to the dough. I only ground the almonds and didn’t realize I should have chopped the chocolate chips until after I made the dough and read the reviewers comments. (Chopping them makes it easier to cut into bars.)
As far as cutting the dough into cookies, I did it a little differently than the instructions below. My log of dough was very firm after refrigerating it all night. So I made 1-inch thick slices vertically across the log. Then I cut each slice in half, then in half again at a diagonal.
With a good bit of chocolate glaze left over, I thickened it with more powdered sugar and then used a spoon to drizzle over each bar to give more visual interest and contrast.
½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
Glaze and Assembly
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 tsp. unsalted butter
⅔ cup powdered sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 7–10 minutes. Let cool, then blitz in a food processor. Set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 375°.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes to infuse.
Whisk granulated sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Pour in spiced butter, scraping pan so you don’t leave any spices behind, and whisk vigorously to combine.
Add egg and egg yolk; whisk vigorously to combine. Mix in dry ingredients, then almonds, chocolate chips, lemon zest, and orange zest.
Turn out onto a clean surface. Divide in half, then roll each half into a log about 1½” wide. Flatten logs to 2″ wide and slice on a diagonal into 1″-wide cookies. Divide between 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing at least 1″ apart.
Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until firm around edges but still soft in the middle, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
Glaze and Assembly
Melt chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of barely simmering water (do not let bowl touch water), stirring occasionally, or melt in a small microwave-safe bowl in a microwave in 20-second bursts, stirring between bursts.
Add powdered sugar, salt, and 2 Tbsp. boiling water and whisk until glaze is smooth and glossy.
Dip tops of cookies into glaze and let sit, glaze side up, on a wire rack until glaze is set, about 2 hours.
Optional: If you have leftover glaze, thicken it with more powdered sugar and then drizzle with a spoon over each bar, zig zagging as you go.
Do ahead: Pizzettes can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature, or freeze up to 1 month.