Helen Nash Dessert

Flourless Hazelnut Cake

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Makes 12 servings. 

A light tea cake which I like to serve with a raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries, this dessert is moist and has a bit of texture. It keeps fresh for many days refrigerated. Be gentle when you slice it, the hazelnuts make it difficult to cut. Keep this cake in mind for Passover.

INGREDIENTS FOR CAKE:

  • ¾ pound hazelnuts, toasted (See Note)

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted margarine

  • 2 tablespoons potato flour

  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature (See Note)

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • Zest of one lemon

  • ¼ cup lemon juice, about 1 large lemon

  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting the cake

INGREDIENTS FOR RASPBERRY SAUCE:

  • One 12 ounce package unsweetened frozen raspberries, thawed

  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

PREPARATION FOR CAKE:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F 

  2. Chop the hazelnuts semi- coarsely, in 2 batches, in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. 

  3. Grease a 10x2 ½ inch spring form pan with margarine and dust with potato flour. Invert pan and shake off excess. 

  4. Beat egg yolks in an electric mixer at medium speed, adding sugar gradually until pale and thick, about 5 minutes.

  5. Lower the speed and add the lemon zest and lemon juice, beating until combined.  

  6. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff. 

  7. With a large rubber spatula, fold half of the nuts and a quarter of the whites into the yolks.  Repeat with the rest of the nuts and another quarter of the whites.

  8. Now reverse the process, pouring batter over the whites. Gradually fold the two mixtures together, making a motion like a figure eight, until all the whites have disappeared. Pour batter into pan distributing the batter evenly and smooth the top, if needed.  

  9. Bake in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes. It’s ready when you insert a tester into the center and it comes out dry.  

  10. Cool on a wire rack. The cake may drop a bit.

  11. Release the sides with a metal spatula and remove the rim. Loosen the bottom as well

  12. Invert onto a platter.  If the bottom is not attractive invert it again. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. 

PREPARATION FOR RASPBERRY SAUCE:

  1. Puree the raspberries in a blender until smooth.

  2. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve. Push the solids through the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon to obtain as much puree as possible. Be sure to scrape the underside of the sieve.

  3. Discard the pulp left in the sieve.

  4. Season to taste with sugar.

NOTE:

To roast the hazelnuts spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place  in a preheated 350F oven for about 15 minutes. Rub in a dish towel to remove the skin (some skin will remain). 

I separate the eggs when they are cold. This prevents the yolks from breaking. Then leave them to warm a bit at room temperature.

 

Chocolate Soufflé Cake

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Makes 12 -14 servings . 

This flowerless, light, chocolaty dessert is truly delicious.  I love to serve it with Crème Chantilly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for buttering the pan

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour  

  • 8 ounces high quality imported semi-sweet chocolate 

  • 6 eggs at room temperature (See Note)

  • Scant ½ cup sugar

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch 

CRÈME CHANTILLY :

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled

  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, or other liquor

PREPARATION:

  1. Grease a 9 by 2 ½-inch spring form pan with butter and dust with flour. Invert pan and tap to shake off excess.     

  2. Melt the butter and cool to lukewarm. 

  3. Break chocolate into small pieces and melt in a double boiler. Cool, add the butter and combine well. 

  4. Preheat oven to 350F.

  5. In an electric mixer, at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Very gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff.  

  6. Lower the speed to medium, add 1 egg yolk at a time and continue beating for 3 minutes.  

  7. Spoon cornstarch into a sifter and sift half of it over the batter along with half of the chocolate.   Fold with a large rubber spatula making a motion like a figure 8 and scraping the batter from the sides and BOTTOM of bowl.

  8. Repeat with the remaining cornstarch and chocolate. Be sure the final batter is well combined.

  9. Pour batter into the prepared pan, distributing it evenly.  

  10. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes. The inside of the cake will be moist and the center will appear loose.

  11.  Cool on a wire rack.  

  12. Remove the rim. Loosen the bottom with a metal spatula and invert onto a platter. The bottom will now be the top.    

TO MAKE CRÈME CHANTILLY:

  1. I recommend beating the cream in a metal bowl which I chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. The colder the bowl, the less likely the cream will separate, especially if the bowl is prepared in advance. 

  2. When the cream begins to take shape, add the sugar and continue beating at high speed until almost firm. With a rubber spatula fold in the liquor. Transfer to a container and refrigerate.

NOTE:

I separate the eggs while they are cold. This prevents the yolks from breaking.

 

Honey Nut Balls

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Makes about 6 dozen cookies. 

Easy to make, nutritious and not too sweet, these treats keep well refrigerated or frozen for a long time. 

I store them in a tight-fitting container with wax paper in between the layers.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ pound almonds, about 2 cups

  • ½ pound walnuts, about 2½ cups

  • Grated rind of 1 lemon

  • Grated rind of 1 orange

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

  • ½ cup honey

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature, whisked

  • ¾-1 cup flour

  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting the cookies

PREPARATION:

  1. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. 

  3. Roast almonds and walnuts in a single layer for about 10 minutes.  

  4. Reduce the oven to 250F. 

  5. Chop the nuts coarsely, SEPERATELY IN BATCHES, in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

  6. Transfer to a bowl with the rinds, juices, honey and egg whites. Mix well.

  7. Add flour gradually, mixing with a wooden spoon to form a thick, but not stiff mixture.  

  8. Roll generous teaspoonfuls of mixture into balls between damp (not wet) palms. You will have to rinse your hands from time to time. Place on the cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes, until the tops feel firm to the touch. 

  9. Cool on a wire rack and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

 
 

Pear Cobbler

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Makes 6 servings. 

I make this dessert, which is both gluten free and easy to make, in the winter when pears are at their best.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 tablespoons pareve chilled margarine or butter cut into ½ inch cubes, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing the ramekins.

  • ¾ cup ground almond flour with skin (See Note)

  • ¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • ½ cup blanched sliced almonds

  • 3 medium-ripe Bosc pears

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. 

  2. Grease six ½ cup ramekins with 1 tablespoon of the margarine/butter and place on a cookie sheet.

  3.  In a large bowl combine almond flour, the rolled oats, sugar and almonds.

  4. Add the margarine/butter and mash with a fork to a coarse texture. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

  5. Peel, core and cut the pears into small cubes.  Place the fruit in a medium bowl and toss with the lemon zest and lemon juice. 

  6. Spread the fruit in the bottom of the ramekins and spread the crumble over the fruit. Cover with cling wrap.  You can do this step ahead of time and bake it straight from the refrigerator.  

  7. Bake the cobbler for about 20 minutes, the topping should be light brown. Serve warm.

NOTE:

I use Bob’s Red Mill ground, not blanched almond flour.

 
 

Dairy Chocolate Soufflé

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Makes 8 servings. 

This dessert is easy, quick, delicious, and the best part is that it can be prepared a few hours before, refrigerated and BAKED STRAIGHT FROM THE REFRIGERATOR. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing the ramekins

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for coating the ramekins

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • 4 ounces imported semi-sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. 

  2. Grease 8 - ½ cup ovenproof ramekins with butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.

  3. Place them on a cookie sheet. 

  4. Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until hot. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

  5. Remove from the heat. 

  6. Beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar to the egg whites and beat until stiff.

  7. With a rubber spatula fold half of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Then reverse the process and pour the chocolate over the remaining whites. Fold together making a motion like a figure 8 until well combined. 

  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins. COVER WITH CLING WRP AND REFIRGERATE FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS. 

  9. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until puffy.