Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Coulis

This is a slice of chocolate torte with raspberry coulis and vanilla bean ice cream.
And if ever there was a slice of perfection covered in deliciousness, this is it.

The 'torte' is a cake that originated in Austria, and it contains little to no flour. In lieu of flour, the lift in the cake comes from a large quantity of eggs. This particular chocolate torte would be a knock-out on its own. The cake is dense, but not heavy. The chocolate flavor is rich, but not overwhelming. In all, a lovely torte. But, I wanted to get 'fancy'.

After researching raspberry coulis, I made a wonderful discovery: raspberry coulis is unbelievably easy to make. Minimal skill is involved: the ability to press a button and press down on a spatula. And you end up with a lovely sauce. Pour that over some chocolate torte, add some scoops of ice cream, and voila: perfection covered in deliciousness.

Here's how I made the torte.

You start by separating 6 eggs. It is easier to separate eggs when they are cold, but you want the eggs at room temperature when you make the cake. So, take your eggs out, get an assembly line going, separate your eggs, and let them come up to room temperature.
Once they are at room temperature, get out a 9 inch spring form pan. Grease it and cover the bottom with parchment.
Next, you want to get the chocolate ready. You will need 9 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. And, as I just learned, semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate are just terms for dark chocolate. I like to eat dark chocolate that is around 70%, so I decided to go with that for this torte.
Now, you want to chop the chocolate up into even pieces.
Next, cut up some butter into small pieces.
You are going to melt all of this together in a double boiler, or something like a double boiler. I put a glass bowl over a Dutch oven and it worked just fine.
Stir frequently, and take it off as soon as everything is melted.

The next step is beating together the egg yolks and sugar. They start looking like this:
And after beating them for 5 minutes, the mixture should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon. It should look like this:
Next, you are going to add in some good vanilla.
And pour in your chocolate.
Stir that up. It looks good doesn't it?
Now its time to beat the egg whites in a separate bowl.
Start beating them until they are frothy.
Add some cream of tartar, and beat that until soft peaks form.
Then gradually add in the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
What you are going to do next is fold in the egg whites. This step is delicate: if you add the egg whites all at once and stir vigorously, you will deflate all the lovely air bubbles in the egg whites, and your cake will not rise. To avoid this, first add a little of the whites and gently fold that in. This will lighten up the batter, and make folding in the rest easier. Now, add in the rest of the whites. Fold that in... gently.

Pour that into your prepared pan. And bake it off.
When you remove the cake from the oven it will look fluffy,
But, the cake will fall. This is supposed to happen. Enjoy the fact that a fallen cake in this situation is totally acceptable.
Eventually, you will want to unmold the cake. You can either serve it at room temperature, or put it in the refrigerator overnight.
Then again, you could always make a raspberry coulis to accompany it. As I said, this is so incredible easy. If its winter, why not just defrost some raspberries from the freezer?
For the sauce, add together the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender.
Puree that.
Pass it through a sieve (I had to use a sifter, as I don't own a sieve).
Taste it, adjust the flavors to your liking, and that's it!
Back to the torte, cut yourself a piece.
Add some ice cream and raspberry coulis.
And enjoy your slice of perfection covered in deliciousness.

Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Coulis (from and Joy of Cooking)
Ingredients for the Torte:
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup granulated white sugar, divided
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Directions for the Torte:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in center of oven. Butter a 9x3 springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper.

Separate the egg whites while still cold, placing the egg whites in one bowl and the egg yolks in another. Cover both with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a sauce pan of simmering water.

Place egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer (can also use a hand mixer). Beat on medium-high speed until thick and lemon-colored, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mix.

In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula or whisk, fold a small amount of the whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten the batter. Add the remaining egg whites, folding just until incorporated. Do not overmix or the batter will deflate.

Pour into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. The top of the cake will have become hard with a cracked surface and lots of crumbs.

Note: I find this cake is best served the next day as it allows for the flavors to blend.

Raspberry Coulis Recipe
1 pint raspberries or 12 ounces frozen dry-pack raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
2 teaspoons strained fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

Puree ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Use a flexible rubber spatula to push the pulp through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Press firmly and periodically scrape the inside of the sieve clear of seeds, which will otherwise plug up the holds. Do not waste the precious pulp. Continue to press until you are left with just a heaping tablespoon of stiff, clumped together seeds. Taste, then stir in a little more sugar or lemon juice if needed. Serve, at room temperature or chilled. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

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