RECIPE: Brooding Balsamic truffle torte with hazelnut oil

The Maille Culinary Challenge has been a reet fun experience for me. They offered to send bloggers two products from a list of their lovely stock for us to create an original recipe. Now me, being me, interpreted this to mean that you would use both of the ingredients in the one recipe. Having seen others entries subsequently, I now realise that I was an idiot.

However, you all know that already. I did spend an inordinate amount of time trying to select two products with which I could create a truly new and inspiring dish. And you know what? I think I nailed it. I researched and I read, I pondered and I planned and I came up with this little beauty. Credit must go to the whole internet for giving me a good few hours of inspiring reading, great recipe ideas and not least to Delia, to whom sole credit for the whole ‘layer of crushed amaretto biscuits’ must go.

And so, here it is, my recipe combining Maille’s Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Maille’s Hazelnut Oil, in (typically Extreme Housewife fashion) a dessert. Drumroll please..

Brooding Balsamic Truffle Torte, dressed with hazelnut oil and cream


  •  120g amaretti biscuits
  • 100g 55% cocoa solids dark chocolate
  • 100g 80% cocoa solids chocolate drops
(You could just use 200g of nice dark chocolate, 
but the essential depth of flavour, bitterness and underlying spicy tones 
of these particular excellent quality chocolates 
complement the balsamic vinegar something chronic in this recipe 
and escalate it to the level of something truly wonderful.)
  •  40ml sugar syrup made with equal quantities of dark brown sugar and water boiled lightly together until a syrupy consistency is achieved
  • A knob of butter
  •  190ml double cream, lightly whipped until slightly thickened
  • 2 tbsp Maille’s Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • Maille’s Hazelnut Oil to serve
  • Cocoa to dust


  • Take out any pent up aggression on the amaretti biscuits, by way of a plastic bag and a rolling pin. Make little crumbs. Then line a loaf tin (you could use a small flan tin, my layer of biscuits is too thick and a round end result would look as nice as a rectangular one.) 
  • In the absence of clingfilm I used a cut open sandwich bag to line the tin to ensure easy turning out, but I reckon you could probably do without lining the tin and just slide a knife around to turn it out.
  • Next melt the chocolate in a bowl above a saucepan of boiling water and add the sugar syrup. Once the chocolate is melted, set it aside for a moment to cool slightly.
  • Oops, and don’t forget to add that knob of butter – I nearly did!
  • Whip up the cream until slightly thickened. You’ll find that it increases in volume. Then add it to the chocolate and fold it in. Add a little at first to slacken the mix, then fold in the rest gently. I’ve heard you don’t want to overwork chocolate. There’s a possibility the Universe might end.
  • Now for the fun part – add your balsamic vinegar. I took mine about 3/4 tablespoon at a time, folded it in then checked the taste (it’s a hard life). You’ll find it adds a wonderful depth to the deep, rich, spiceness of the dark chocolate. It adds yet more earthiness and subtly intensifies the flavour, adding just a slight sourness on the aftertaste. It is wonderful. You’ll have to trust me on this, but it’s ace.
  • Once the vinegar is in and you’re happy with the flavour balance, add it in to your tin. I found a central dolloping method necessary to keep my makeshift sandwich bag liner in place. 
  • The biscuit crumbs make it a little difficult to get everything in neatly, but stick with it. A little care and it is all possible.
  • Now, give it a couple of good hard taps on the work surface to help the chocolate settle flush against the crumbs. Stick it in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, to set.
  • Once set, turn it out on a serving plate (easy!), remove your lining wrap and dust with cocoa.
  •  I found the this was easiest to cut with a knife warmed in hot water, after it had been out of the fridge for a little while to soften up. Do keep it in the fridge when you are not eating it though, to keep its shape.
  •  Serve with a drizzle of Maille Hazelnut Oil, for an additional subtle nutty addition. Et voila!

I don’t mind telling you, I think this is the greatest recipe I have ever created. The deep, earthy spiciness of the chocolate matches perfectly with the balsamic and ends with a subtle hint of sourness which is just delicious. It cuts through the bitter-sweetness of the chocolate really well. The crushed amaretto adds an awesome crunch and that in combination with the hazelnut oil adds another layer of flavour which also complements the almost fruity tones of the chocolate and balsamic.

I think this recipe would be nowhere near as awesome if you used a lower quality of chocolate or balsamic, so don’t skimp on your ingredients! I think if you wanted a softer texture you would definitely get away with adding another 50ml or even slightly more cream to the mixture. It is also delicious when served with additional cream.

I handed a few pieces out to friends to try and they were all extremely complementary, and so all in all, I am totally chuffed with this recipe creation! Truffle in a cake!


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

0 thoughts on “RECIPE: Brooding Balsamic truffle torte with hazelnut oil

  • This sounds absolutely amazing. It would make a great dinner party dessert.

    Hazel Rea, @beachrambler

  • The idea of this sounds delicious, the only problem is that I don't like amaretto (in biscuit form or otherwise), and I'm really not a fan of dark chocolate either. It's a very original sounding recipe though, one I've certainly never come across before. Well done you for coming up with something so unusual and no doubt delicious (if you like amaretto and dark chocolate of course). :O)


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