Monday, May 7, 2012

Chocolate-Almond Torte with Chocolate Glaze, Take 2

A second take of this torte was a necessity. The first one was so good I even ate it for breakfast. Technically though, I had to see if I could get the glaze part worked out. It was a cinch: I followed the instructions.

Chocolate-Almond Torte with Chocolate Glaze, Take 2
8 oz. whole almonds (about 1 1/2 c), toasted
1 c sugar, divided
8 oz. 60% to 65% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c unsalted butter or margarine
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp coffee-flavored liqueur or strong coffee
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp light corn syrup
6 oz. 60% to 65% bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat oven to 350°F. Blanch the nuts by submerging them in boiling water about 3 minutes. Cool enough to handle; peel by pinching the skins off.

Toast almonds in the oven until fragrant and browning.
I toasted these almonds for 20 minutes. They were still a little wet going into the oven so the water needed to be cooked off.

Melt 8 oz. chocolate and butter in medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring frequently until
smooth. Cool until warm, not hot.
Process almonds and 1/4 cup of the sugar in blender until almonds are finely ground.
Beat egg yolks and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl at medium speed 2 minutes or until pale yellow and thick.

Beat in vanilla. At low speed, beat in chocolate mixture until blended.
Beat in ground almonds.

Beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl at medium-high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form.
These are photos of the egg whites changing from the time I started beating them until I decided the peak was stiff, a total of 7 minutes.

Fold whites into chocolate mixture in three parts.

Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Pour batter into pan.

Bake 40 to 43 minutes or until top crust is firm when touched and center is moist but not liquid. (Don’t overbake.) Top crust may crack slightly. Place on wire rack; immediately run knife around inside of pan to loosen cake from sides.

Cool completely in pan. Remove pan sides. (Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely and store at room temperature.)

Meanwhile, combine coffee, water and corn syrup in small bowl.

Melt 6 oz. chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring frequently until melted and smooth.

Remove bowl from saucepan; whisk in corn syrup mixture.

Spread over cake, allowing glaze to drip down sides.

Let stand 45 minutes or until set.

Good god, man, this torte is just divine. It just astounds me every single time I have a slice of this torte that it doesn't have flour in it. The results are moist, nutty, chocolately, delicious! And the texture is really like that of a brownie, this time maybe slightly less dense than last time.

While the glaze turned out all pretty and smooth, the flavor wasn't noticeably different than the glaze on the first-take torte. I wish I'd taken a photo after the glaze had set, but was too busy eating the last slice before I remembered I hadn't collected that shot.

As for the technical stuff, let's talk
  • toasted almonds: as long as they are slightly browned and fragrant, they'll emit a toasty little flavor. It doesn't matter if your oven takes 6 or 20 minutes to make that happen. I likely put the almonds in the oven before the oven was fully preheated.
  • egg whites: Last time, I beat them 13 minutes before giving up on stiff peaks. This time, I got what I believe were stuff peaks after only 7 minutes. Maybe I forgot the salt one of the times and that made a difference. Or maybe the eggs were closer to room temperature this time. I dunno.
  • coffee: Was it the coffee addition that yielded a beautifully smooth glaze and the lack of coffee last time that yielded a dull, crusty looking paste? I doubt it. I'm chalking that up to the fact that I used enough liquid this time (I measured it!). Last time I wasn't confident in how the torte would turn out and, ashamedly, just sort of slapped the paste ingredients together without much love.
  • chocolate: baking bars or chips makes no difference.  

If you haven't tried this recipe yet, you don't know what you're missing out on!

  • almonds: $2.10
  • sugar: $0.36
  • chocolate: $6.01
  • butter: $0.42
  • eggs: $1.90
  • vanilla extract: $0.07
  • coffee: $1.49
  • corn syrup: $0.09
Total: $12.44 or $1.04 for each of 12 servings.