‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’, said Leonardo da Vinci, and a lot of his ideas were good ones, even if he probably wasn’t talking about dessert. I decided to heed his advice this week, especially after last week’s chocolate and ginger tart-attack, and took out one of my favourite recipes: a white chocolate and brownie torte, with only three ingredients. (I believe this is from one of those three-ingredient cookbooks, although I received it as a hand-me-down, so can pass on the recipe if desired.)

A list of three ingredients bodes well, doesn’t it? Cheap, and quick, and not at all intimidating. And yes, three of my last five bakery attempts have been chocolate-based, but this torte makes up in ease and loveliness what it lacks in originality. Since it’s only white chocolate, brownie and double cream, whipped together then frozen into shape, there’s not much to dislike, so it has gone down well with just about everyone.

Of course, I should never underestimate my own capacity to introduce a bit of catastrophe to the proceedings, and while I initially thought there was no way of getting this one wrong, I have in fact had two torte disasters. The first was in the US, where they don’t have double cream (how do they find the strength to go on?). I’m sure they do have an equivalent, but evidently I didn’t find it, because when I added the chocolate it curdled, horribly. I ploughed ahead and froze it anyway, but wasn’t surprised when the end result was inedible.

On a different occasion, I gave the Other Half the job of packing the crumbled brownie into the Springform tin. He packed with such energy and enthusiasm that the base froze solid, and refused to defrost even after an hour. A chainsaw was required to cut through the thing, and we nearly broke our teeth trying to eat it.

These, though, have been the exceptions to the rule: this torte is as easy as…well, actually, a great deal easier than pie, if last week is anything to go by. Two brief words of caution: first, as the torte needs freezing for eight hours, this can’t be made on a whim (though if you’re far more organised than me, you could have one on standby in the freezer for as long as you liked). Second, as it’s only the freezer-time holding it together, it has a very short shelf-life. Make it only if you’re willing to eat it, all, within twenty-four hours. Oddly enough, we’ve never found this to be a problem.

Mmm, swirly.


Can you spot who DOESN'T have one of those mini cocoa sieves?

Deliciousness: Utterly delightful. Like Milky-bar ice cream on a brownie base.

Complexity: Couldn’t be simpler, unless you happen to be in the US and don’t know your way around the dairy aisle.

Washing-up pile: Five items, only two of them large. Rapidly dispatched.

Casualties: Our cholesterol, as it’s impossible to avoid licking out the cream-and-chocolate mixing bowl. If you are able to resist this, see a doctor. You may be dead inside.