Friday, August 08, 2008
I'm not a chocoholic the way SJG is, but I do recognize chocolate heaven when I come across it. Last weekend, our good friend Jeff paid a visit on his way home from seeing his parents. He and his boyfriend are our best foodie friends, and we go back a long way. Jeff's also just been appointed chair of his university department, so to welcome him and to celebrate his august duties and responsibilities, I made a chocolate torte of equal grandeur. Below is the recipe. (The recipe has several steps. If you have the right ingredients and equipment, you'll find that it's an easy easy recipe. And you'll wow your convives with the results!)
Chocolate Mousse Torte
(adapted from Fine Cooking magazine/March 2008)
1 recipe ganache (below)
2 tablespoons espresso coffee (optional)
6 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
butter for the springform cake pan
confectioner's sugar to decorate the cake
12 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate (at least 55-60% cacao), chopped coarsely
1 cup heavy cream
1. Grind the chocolate in a food processor for 30 seconds. It'll look sort of like cornmeal.
2. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Add to the chocolate in the food processor and blend about 10 seconds, until smooth. Add the espresso coffee and blend again briefly. Transfer the ganache into a large mixing bowl and set aside while you make the torte.
To Make the Torte:
1. Use about one tablespoon of softened butter to generously butter the inside of a
9- or 10-inch springform pan.
2. Wrap the outside of the springform pan with a sheet or two of heavy-duty tin foil. Set the wrapped pan in a roasting pan. (Don't skip this tin-foil step, otherwise you'll end up with a soggy torte.)
3. Bring a full kettle of water to the boil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
4. In a large bowl, whip the eggs, sugar, flour, and cinnamon with an electric mixer until doubled (or even tripled) in volume. This takes 6 minutes (use a timer).
5. Add about one-third of the egg mixture (above) to the ganache and mix gently with a rubber spatula until combined. Add the rest of the egg mixture to the ganache and fold in until well blended and no signs of egg remain.
6. Pour the batter into the springform pan (which you've already set in the roasting pan). Add 1 to 1-1/2 inches of boiling water to the roasting pan.
7. Bake the torte until a dry crust forms on the top and the edges are set but the center of the torte is still wobbly when you jiggle the pan. This takes about 20 minutes for a 9-inch pan, and about 23-25 minutes for a 10-inch pan.
8. When the torte is done, remove it from the roasting pan and take off the foil. Cool the torte (still in the springform pan) on a wire rack to room temperature. Refrigerate the torte (still in the springform pan) until completely set (at least 3 hours, or overnight).
To Unmold and Serve the Torte:
1. To unmold the torte, remove the springform ring. Put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the torte and invert the torte onto a cookie sheet.
2. Using a long, thin-bladed knife or metal icing spatula, carefully remove the bottom of the pan. Invert the torte again onto a large serving plate and remove the plastic wrap.
3. To decorate the torte, place about 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar in a small sieve and dust the top of the cake. Or you can use a stencil (I chose a crown pattern, above) to dust a confectioner's sugar design onto the top of the torte.
4. To slice the torte, run a thin-bladed knife under hot water, wipe dry, and slice a piece of the torte. Repeat for each slice. Serve plain or with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Wow!