Friday, 25 April 2014

Flourless chocolate torte: Another first time

I have been craving a simple chocolate torte for a few weeks now. Yesterday I got down to making one for myself. Of course, I didn't get more than a thin sliver, but that's another story.

Well a torte is a dense and rich cake, usually multilayered with fillings that could be anything ranging from butter cream and jams to ganache and mousses. Once cooled, the decadent cake is finished off with a fine glaze. Drool worthy I tell you. However, there are a few European versions are without layers too and since I was trying to make a torte for the first time I preferred to keep it simple. So I fished out a recipe that is so simple to make that you do a little jig just to celebrate its simplicity.

Now I always feel that it's best that you shop for your own kitchen. In fact, in recent times I have begun to enjoy shopping for ingredients, even the stench of the fish market excites me. But yesterday, I was feeling rather lazy. Besides, the very thought of stepping out in this heat and jostling my way through throngs of enthused shoppers while sweating like a little piggy didn't appeal to me much. I do not usually buy my ingredients from air conditioned malls, I have specific shops at specific old fashioned bazaars that I head to in times of need. So I bullied someone else to do that for me. Well, I didn't exactly bully him, he was headed that way anyway.

And though I will be grateful to him for getting me the ingredients, I was a tad disappointed because he got me chocolate compound instead of dark chocolate. Now like a friend, a former chef and now a professor of culinary sciences, said -- the difference between pure chocolate (for cooking) and chocolate compound is that in chocolate compound the chocolate liqueur and cocoa butter is substituted with vegetable oil and cocoa powder. However he pointed out that working with compound chocolate is easier than handling chocolate. And he said the difference isn't much either, unless you're a persnickety gastronome. To me though the difference in taste is hardly recognizable, there is a distinct textural difference, which I believe comes from the difference in the fat used, vegetable oil as opposed to cocoa butter.

However, to me the real problem was the sugar content in the compound, it was higher of course. So I had to work around that. Coming back to my recipe...Now tortes are usually made with lots of eggs and very little flour, the recipe I found had no flour at all. And it was a torte with no layers, just a dusting of cocoa powder to finish it off. I was not in the mood for jams or jellies, was a little too lazy to trump up a mousse or ganache and I am not a huge fan of butter cream. So I decided to keep it simple.

The method is pretty simple really. Melt the chocolate and butter together. Beat the eggs and sugar. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and bake. And you have a rich, dense, gooey torte ready. But I had the sugar level to deal with. The recipe comprised usual white sugar. Now I substituted the sugar with Demerara sugar (less sweet) and a little less than the quantity suggested. Later instead of just the cocoa powder, I finished it off with a dusting of both cocoa powder and icing sugar. The effect was nice indeed.

By the way, about torte,  it seems the Sachertorte, a classic layered torte with a layer of apricot jam and a coating of chocolate icing that originated in Austria, (invented by Austrian Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel Von Metternich) is a royalty of sorts among tortes. Did you know that in Austria December 5 is celebrated as National Sachertorte Day? Ah I was just reading about it here. Well, the next time I make a torte, Sachertorte it is going to be.

Unsalted butter - 175 g  + more for greasing the pan
Large eggs - 6
Chocolate Compound - 340 g
Demerara sugar - 5 - 6 tbsp
Pinch of salt
Unsweetened cocoa powder ad icing sugar for dusting


Preheat oven at 175 degree centigrade. Grease a 9 inch spring form  pan and keep. Chop up the chocolate and in a heatproof bowl combine the chocolate and the butter. Place the bowl on another bowl half-filled with oiling water. The bottom of the bowl containing the chocolate shouldn't touch the water. Set aside to let the chocolate and butter melt. Then stir to combine the melted butter and chocolate together, remove from bowl of boiling water and cool a bit.

In another bowl combine eggs, sugar and salt and beat until thick and pale.

Now fold in the chocolate mixture with the eggs mix, first half and once combines the rest. Pour into the greased springform and bake at 175 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the top is almost set, barely wiggles and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with only a few crumb. Remove on to a rack and cool.

Finally finish it off with a dusting of cocoa powder and icing sugar. I would prefer to serve it cold.

Note that the above recipe is an adaptation of the original one. For the original recipe see here. 

No comments:

Post a Comment