Sixty-three percent of Valentine’s Day gifts consist of sweets! Hence why providing a scratch made gift for those you love is an ideal opportunity to state “I love you.” If your celebrating Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day as a single person or as a couple, this flourless chocolate torte recipe is made to grace the atmosphere with smiles. Whether it’s before, after or the main course you will enjoy this Chef’s night out torte.
Let’s talk “torte” for a few minutes so we have a basic level of understanding of what we are about to construct. The word torte is derived from the Italian word “torta,” which means a round cake or bread. Are we attempting to make cake or bread? There are some differences between a torte and a cake. All of which we will not discuss in this article.
A torte is made from little or no flour and in this case, no flour. Ingredients such as butter, eggs, and even ground nut-type mixtures are used for creating a torte. Tortes come with options like any other dessert now days. You can experience tortes filled with scratch-made jams, whipped cream or mousse.
Cakes are made with lighter density than tortes. Besides the look of a cake, the true test is found within the taste of the cake compared with the torte. A torte will have great density due to mixtures used in the recipe. Cake recipes, most of the time, will call for the use of all-purpose flour, eggs, butter, baking powder and then optional additions such as fillers and toppings.
At the end of the day the choice is yours. In my personal opinion and experience if you’re baking from home, tortes give the look of elegance and simplicity over a cake.
Are you looking to pair a simple but elegant wine with your gifted dessert? I have you covered with last week’s recommendation, Wine by Joe Pinot Noir. You can read the article here if you missed it. Since people around the world consume more than 3 million tons of cocoa beans a year, according to the World Cocoa Foundation, it’s only fitting to bring you a chocolate dessert of this caliber and simplicity.
This little work of art will yield two 8 inch round cake pans or pie pans. You will need to make the flourless chocolate torte the day prior to your planned festivities. Don’t worry, it’s only nine easy steps to chocolate transcendence.
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
18 1 ounce squares of bitter-sweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
*Consider dressing your tort with a raspberry compote for topping, fresh whipped cream or with sieved powered sugar.
Step One: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Step Two: Grease two 8 inch round cake pans and set it aside. *I suggest using butter to grease your pan. If you are greasing your pan with a cooking spray, be sure to completely wipe all of the cooking spray out of the pan.
Step Three: In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
Step Four: Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. *Unless you have previous experience using a double broiler, I suggest using your microwave to melt the bittersweet chocolate.
Step Five: Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
Step Six: Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Step Seven: Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Make sure you have a pan larger than the cake pan ready. Put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan. You are creating a water bath.
*A water bath is a pan of hot water you place in the oven. The purpose of a water bath is to help more delicate cakes bake more evenly and reduce the risk of cracking.
Step Eight: Bake the torte in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Don’t panic. Refrigerate up to 8 hours or until firm.
Step Nine: To un-mold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.
You’ve created and worked hard up to this point. Let’s move forward with a solid finish. Your torte has set in the refrigerator over night, you have un-molded it from the pan and placed it on a serving plate.
Plating and presentation are mission critical now. Your masterpiece and guest of honor deserve not only a delectable dessert, but a graceful appearance, especially for this special occasion. Focus on the process instead of the end result. It’s effortless to have an end in mind or a picture in our heads of what we want our Pinterest or Instagram worthy photos too look like. Think beyond that.
Slow down and don’t be afraid to literally sketch out a rough picture of how you plan on plating your flourless chocolate torte. By drawing out your presentation it enables you to take what is in your mind and put in on the plate. It provides you with the ability to see all the flaws and make the needed adjustments. When I cooked in professional restaurants I sketched out every item on the menu prior to publishing our menus.
There are no rules. Think of the shape, the portion size, the topping and how it will all come together in the final presentation. Will you cut it into traditional slices, squares, rectangles, or even circles with a cookie cutter? How about dusting the plate with powdered sugar first and then placing the torte on top. A fresh made raspberry compote for topping or whipped cream will work as well. Swirling and shaping your whipped cream are other options for presentation.
*A compote is a variety of fresh fruits, canned fruit or dried fruits that have been softened. The fruit is placed in a sauce pan with your choice of liquid such as wine, juice or a combination of sugar and water. If you choose to go this route, there are plenty of compote recipes on the world-wide web. It’s worth a “Google.”
May your 2021 Valentine’s Day be greater than your former. No matter where you find yourself this year, I hope you celebrate life, happiness, thankfulness, and enjoyment with those you truly love.
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*Disclaimer: Thoroughly cooking foods of animal origin such as beef, eggs, fish, lamb, milk, poultry or shellfish reduces the risk of food borne illness. Individuals with certain health conditions may be at higher risk if these foods are consumed raw or undercooked.