“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” – Katharine Hepburn
Some days, one needs a little chocolate – or a lot of chocolate. As for me? Everyday I need chocolate. Yes, need. A life without chocolate is lot like one without fabulous wine, cheese, books or music. Just not fun. Simply sad.
One of my favorite chocolate treats is a flourless chocolate torte. It is my signature Passover dessert dish, as it is naturally unleavened and free of flour, in keeping with the dietary laws of Pesach. Still, the dessert seems to pop up in holiday meals – and everyday ones, for that matter – year round. My intensely chocolate version tastes rich and decadent, but is still healthy enough to enjoy often. Definite often as you will (hourly?). Not only is this recipe lighter than most, but it is also faster. No fuss, no frills, just good food.
“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” – Linda Grayson
Did I mention that the torte is gluten-free, as well? It’s wonderful gift for your friends, gluten-eating and gluten-intolerant alike.
“Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.” – Judith Viorist
Yes, I unapologetically am lacking in willpower and weak in the knees when it comes to chocolate.
This torte is delicious with a cup of warm, freshly brewed coffee in the morning. I am not above eating chocolate for breakfast – or dinner, for that matter – and neither are my two little munchkins. As if there was any doubt, this recipe is 110% kid-tested and approved. It promises lots of chocolate crumbs on the floor and small faces smeared by fudgy, cocoa goodness… plus big smiles and happy tummies. “Yay!” clapped the Littlest Guy. The Princess was completely silenced by the goodness. A quiet three-year-old is a rarity, for sure.
The preparation of the cake flies by, especially if your children love to bake as much as mine do. They even clean the bowls, albeit with their tongues. And remember, don’t neglect to make the orange-almond mascarpone cream. Your kids will happily lick that bowl, as well. The accompaniment takes the cake to another level. The elements of floral honey, earthy almonds and bright, crisp orange sing in unison with the creamy mascarpone. And, Ms. Chocolate never met a Mr. Orange that she didn’t like (oh, and yes, chocolate is definitely a woman).
Let’s get baking! A moist and mouth-watering treat awaits. Note: the torte will fall slightly in the middle. Fear not, this is part of it’s unique beauty – it sinks from the sheer amount of deep, dark chocolate. Oh, yes.
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Light Flourless Chocolate Torte with Orange-Almond Mascarpone Cream
A no-fuss, straightforward preparation of a modern American classic
8 ounces excellent quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa content, chopped (I used Scharffen Berger 70% bittersweet chocolate)
1/4 cup fine, granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup strong, freshly brewed coffee, regular or decafeinated, cooled*
1 Tbsp. good quality vanilla extract (I used Madécasse Madagascar pure vanilla extract)
pinch of salt, about 1/4 tsp.
1.) Preheat oven to 350°F or 177°C and set an oven-rack in center of oven. Grease a 9-inch cake pan or springform pan with cooking spray. If you have parchment paper on hand, lining the bottom of the pan and greasing the top of the paper allows the cake to come out easily after it is baked.
2.) In the bottom section of a double boiler*, heat about four inches of water until just simmering. Melt the chocolate and the butter in the top section of the double boiler. Then, stir in the sugar and remove from heat. Set the chocolate and butter mixture aside and allow to cool. Then, stir in the coffee*, salt and vanilla. Whisk in six egg yolks.
3.) In a small bowl, beat six egg whites until light peaks form. Using a spatula, gently stir the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared cake or springform pan.
4.) Bake on the center oven rack for 20-25 minutes, or until the torte is just set and has pulled away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick comes out clean. The torte may sink slightly in the middle; this is part of it’s beauty.
5.) Allow the torte cool for at least thirty minutes. Then, slice and serve with fresh berries and orange-almond mascarpone cream (recipe below). Refrigerate leftovers (if any torte remains); the cake will keep for about two weeks. Enjoy!
*If you do not have a double bowler, simply set a heat-proof glass bowl over a small pot of simmering water in place of the double boiler.
*You will not taste the coffee in the recipe; the ingredient simply enhances the rich, dark chocolate flavor of the torte.
Orange-Almond Mascarpone Cream
Feel free to double this recipe for a crowd
4 ounces mascarpone (1/2 of a standard, 8 ounce container), room temperature
the zest and juice of one large orange
1-2 Tbsp. of honey, to taste
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1.) Using a whisk, mix the mascarpone, the zest and juice of the orange and the almond extract until the mixture is smooth.
2.) Add the honey, one teaspoon at a time, to taste. Each tablespoon of honey has three teaspoons. I prefer a lightly sweetened mascarpone cream; it strikes a nice balance well with the perfectly sweet chocolate torte.
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