Swaying in Fall.

The lights are low. The candles are soft. The music is immediate. Fall is tapping on the windows of our home and yes, I welcome it with a warm embrace. This is the moment the oven is on for the most of the day roasting vegetables, pumpkins, and feta cheese garlic spread. The experimentation of recipes has begun. A fantastic dessert to be shared from Oh She Glows may just be the thing you are looking for this week. It is chocolate perfection, not too sweet, and great to be shared with a fantastic tea, friends, and Dean Martin, of course.

Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust

From Oh She Glows

Makes 1 (9-inch / 23-cm) torte; serves 8–14

For the crust:
¾ cup hazelnuts
¼ cup coconut oil
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 ½ cups, divided, gluten-free if necessary

For the filling:
1 ½ cups, soaked for at least 4 hours
¾  cup  pure maple syrup
½  cup coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, melted (I used chopped dark chocolate)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract  
½ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 tbsp. espresso powder (optional)
shaved dark chocolate, for garnish (optional)
coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)

How To Play:
1. Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish with coconut oil.
2. In a food processor, blend ½ cup of the rolled oats on high until you have a rough flour, place a small bowl and set aside. Without cleaning the machine, process the hazelnuts into a fine crumb with the texture of sand. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add the remaining 1 cup of rolled oats and pulse until the oats are chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together slightly when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t, try adding a bit more maple syrup or processing a bit longer.
3. With your fingers, crumble the dough evenly over the base of the pie dish. Starting from the middle, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the dish, moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish. The harder you press the crumbs into the dish, the better the crust will hold together. Poke a few fork holes into the bottom to let steam escape.
4. Bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Make the filling: Drain and rinse the cashews. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashews, maple syrup, oil, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt, and espresso powder (if using) and blend on high until the filling is completely smooth. It can take a few minutes of blending to get it smooth, depending on your blender. If the blender needs more liquid to get it going, add a tablespoon (15 mL) of almond milk (or a bit more) to help it along.
6. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, smoothing out the top evenly. Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or coconut flakes, if desired.
7. Place the pie dish on an even surface in the freezer, uncovered. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then cover the dish with foil and freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, until the pie sets.
8. Remove the pie from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before slicing. This pie is meant to be served frozen.

I can not take credit for this photo, for we ate it before the camera could take a photo!

Chilled-Chocolate-Espresso-Torte-475x315

Photo Credit: Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows.

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For Lizzie, It’s Amore

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“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore” Ok, so these lyrics have never really made sense to me, but I can see Cher and Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck, with his wooden hand making pizzas, a big sweaty mess, and Cher with her absolute coolness, being well, Cher. I used to love that movie. I just realized that it is kind of an odd movie to like when one is 8, perhaps it was just the song, It’s Amore, by Dean Martin, that stood out to me the most. There is something about Pizza. I love it. I loved my mom’s homemade pizza growing up. When we lived in Europe, there was not a word to describe the thrill my taste buds endured. Absolute wonder. I am excited to share a pizza dough recipe that was introduced to me when I visited my lovely friend Renata and her family in the state of WA. This recipe is from a blog called Not Without Salt. I find making this dough therapeutic. The kids love watching the process as well, especially when it rises and we poof it down. There is an atmosphere of begging, “Can I touch the dough, can I touch the dough.” Seriously, it is the most exciting thing for them. The most freeing thing is, is that you can top the pizza however you like. I am still on my radicchio and truffle oil kick, but the kids love these different types of toppings:
mozzarella cheese with ricotta and Parmesan
mozzarella cheese with pizza pepperoni
mozzarella cheese with ham and pineapple
and then there is me with spinach,feta, peppers, mozzarella cheese, and radicchio in there somewhere…
But for all who are in great need of a snazzy pizza dough, I truly hope this helps in some way, I have been so pleased with it.

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The Greatest Pizza Dough I Know

From Not Without Salt

Pizza Dough
makes enough for 3 or 4 pizza

4 cups all purpose flour (1 lb 4 oz.)
1 T salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups water, room temperature
Additional flour, for dusting.

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of room temperature water, then mix on low speed using dough hook until dough binds, about 1 minute, adding more water as necessary. Let rest for 5 minutes. Knead on second-lowest setting for 5 to 7 minutes, until dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth ball. (I don’t have a stand mixer, I just use a wooden spoon.)
Turn out onto a floured surface, knead and form into a ball, then let rest in a bowl for 3 to 4 hours.

By this point the dough should have doubled in size. Punch down and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge overnight. It is possible to use this dough the same day with great results although the long rest in the fridge improves the texture and becomes much easier to stretch.

Take it out of the fridge two hours before you want to eat dinner and let rest on counter. After approximately 90 minutes, turn out the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 4 8-ounce pieces. Fold and knead each three or four times until it forms a smooth ball. Let rest/rise for 30 minutes.Working with one ball at a time, using your hands, slowly stretch the dough to your desired size leaving a bit of a crust around the outer edge. If the dough becomes tight and hard to work with, let it rest for a few minutes while you move on to the next ball of dough. Sometimes the dough just needs a moment to relax. Preheat your oven for at least 45 minutes with a pizza stone inside, to 485 – 550 degrees. Create 12” round using your dough. We then place it on a floured piece of parchment paper, place it on the stone or baking sheet, cook for 6-8 minutes until cheese is bubbling and the crust is to your liking.

Enjoy.