Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chocolate-nut Loaf

I keep hearing how fantastic this chocolate-nut loaf is by Pierre Hermé so I thought it was about time I tried it. I have his book Desserts in which I used his lemon cream recipe for my lemon tarts. It was spectacular; by far the best lemon cream I've had. I'm eager to learn more from this great chef.
This loaf is full of surprises; it goes against every expectation of of an everyday chocolate loaf. It bursts with flavor from the toasted nuts to the dense moist decadence of the chocolate cake, emphasized by rich chocolate chunks. I really love the sharp green color of the pistachios against the dark chocolate cake.
I have to admit, I didn’t stick to the recipe entirely. I did not add any hazelnuts; instead I opted for extra pistachios and almonds. In a way, I’m pleased with this change. The loaf was a lot nuttier in flavor than I expected and I think the strong flavor that hazelnuts give would have been too much. Of course, I’m sure others would beg to differ, so I have written the original recipe below but also mentioned where I have made changes.

Chocolate-nut Loaf:
(Adapted from Pierre Hermé's Desserts
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons very good cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I added 2 extra tablespoons)
  • 5 ounces almond paste
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (I substituted these for more pistachios and almonds)
  • 1/3 cup blanched chopped and toasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  • 3 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks (I used Valrhona Manjari)
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon butter (melted and cooled)

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Prepare an insulating layer for the cake by stacking two baking sheets, one on top of the other.
Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder in a bowl and set aside.

Add the sugar and almond paste to a mixer and beat on a medium speed until they are well blended.
(or use a large bowl and a hand held electric whisk)

Add the eggs one at a time beating for two minuted each time.
Then turn the mixer on full speed and whisk for 8-10 minutes until the liquid has formed an emulsion that looks like mayonnaise.

Reduce the mixer to a low speed, add the milk and combine.

Sift in the flour ingredients and mix until homogeneous.

Fold in the nuts, chocolate chunks and melted butter.

Pour the cake batter into the loaf pan and bake at 350F for 60-70 minutes.

Allow to cool on a rack.
You can serve the cake at this point, although it's best to wrap in a double thickness of plastic wrap or foil and allow it to "ripen" for a day before cutting it into slices and serving.


  1. Oh yum, love the addition of pistachio in the recipe. Something different that the usual nuts.

  2. I also, do like the green against the brown, you are entirely right.
    How clever.
    Save me a piece

  3. Really interesting recipe... I agree with your nut choice, but then I am not a hazelnut fan. Love the pistachio color against the chocolate and it looks like a really moist cake!

  4. Ouch.....that's what I get for trying to dive into my computer after that amazing bread.

    I need to bake this the next time I have an empty house because believe you me....I ain't gonna share

  5. WOW! LOVE that! a chocolate loaf?! That is my kind of dessert!

  6. I wish you lived close by then I could stop by under the guise of borrowing an egg or a cup of milk and snag a piece of this. Yum!

  7. I wish you lived closer then I could stop by under the guise of borrowing an egg or cup of milk and snag a piece of this - yum!

  8. I love his recipes! Haven't tried out the chocolate nut loaf though... your photographs makes me wanna get out my copy right now!

  9. oh this look so nice and those pistachios really stand out.

  10. this sounds lame, but the author's name alone is enticing enough for me to grab his book! :) not to mention I'm not a big baker. Great looking bread! :)

  11. this sounds lame, but the author's name alone is enticing enough for me to grab his book! :) not to mention I'm not a big baker. Great looking bread! :)

  12. MMMM! i want some of that lovely loaf now please. chocolate and nuts are a dreamy combo.

  13. Fabulous photos, and I can't wait to try this out. Love the pistachios--and chocolate, of course.

  14. What a great loaf! Great substitution :)

  15. It looks good! That loaf looks wonderful.

  16. Chocolate in a tea bread?? I've made lots of breads, but never a chocolate one. Sounds absolutely yummy. This goes to the top of my "must make" list! Can't wait...

  17. Oh man! Now I'm going to have to buy yet another cookbook! Gee whiz! This cake looks great and sounds even better! Love it! And love pistachios with chocolate!

  18. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say hi!

    I LOVE pistachios, so this recipe is right up my alley!

    Have a great day ;)

  19. Georgous colors, very appetizing!

  20. WOW, a Pierre Herme recipe, how fabulous :). I am mloving the looks of it, the pistachio looks so pretty and green against the chocolate. Have a wonderful weekend *kisses* HH

  21. Ah, I have that book and his chocolate book. Aren't they just SOoooo beautiful? I've not made this particular recipe but now your spurred my curiouslity. In fact how could it not be spectacular, chocolate duh. What kind/brand of chocolate did you use? Beautiful and yes love the green pistachio's too.

  22. OMG, this looks awesome. I love Pierre Herme - he is a great resource.

  23. this looks awesome love the little tea cup as well my Grandma has ones like this lol

  24. Yum, this looks delicious. I think I would love the pistachios in it.

  25. Oh, it looks delicious! I love how the top of it looks like a brownie!


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