Flourless Chocolate Torte
I understand this post is a little untimely. I should be recounting the highlights of the past year and looking forward to the great expectations of the upcoming one–complete with a motivating list of my new year resolutions. But thing is, I’m sitting in my sister’s apartment in Seattle with the bleary, grey sky outside, and all I can think about is the fact that maybe somebody, somewhere down the line, invented this whole new-start-new-resolutions deal as a way to fill the void that occurs when the holidays are over. After all, what better way to end something than to motivate yourself to move forward beyond it.
I really do like the past year though. Honest! And I’m sure I’ll like this upcoming year, too. I tend to like pretty much everything, after all. But thing is I really, really don’t like goals. Or rather, I like them, but they don’t seem to like me. I don’t think I’ve made a weighty one in my whole life. I know this is terrible and goes against everything I’ve learned in those motivating school talks that encourage ambition by reiterating that statistic that shows that people who make goals are 80% more successful than those that don’t (or some weird, arbitrary number).
Besides, I’m much more the type of person that is in that perpetual state of finding it necessary to remind myself every few days or so to become healthier, or be a little more organized about school work, or become less flaky, or some such thing. And in lieu of saying that I’m going to introduce this flourless chocolate torte. (It seems as though I must be in one of those limbo days where I’m not telling myself to be healthier, ha ha! Lucky for me, unfortunate to all you new-year-do-gooders.) It’s not too healthy, obviously, but it is pretty awesome. It’s a recipe my mom’s been using for awhile and one that everyone always, always enjoys. The texture is rich and dense but somehow it still has that wonderful, creamy and light bite that good chocolate mousse tends to have.
This cake follows the usual standard formula that most flourless chocolate cakes have–combining the egg yolks with chocolate and butter, and following that by adding in the whipped egg whites. On top of the fact that it’s a reliable, straightforward, and infinitely pleasing recipe, I chose to make this one in particular because it doesn’t contain any amount of flour, something my older sister is highly allergic to (in addition to all dairy and most starches!). This one was served for family friends my mom had over for dinner–I’ve always thought that flourless chocolate cakes are wonderful to share with friends or at any sort of dinner party. Everyone liked it, a lot, and one guest called me the Dessert Queen. Haha! Cute and corny, I’ll take it.
Anyway, I think it’s a pretty classic cake, that everyone should at least have some variation of. I realize it may not be the most popular type of thing to bake up this time of year, but you know. It’ll happen, you know it, whether or not losing weight or eating healthier is one of your resolutions or not. (By the way, if you do have a list of positive resolutions for this next year, I think it’s a very good thing, and please disregard this most uncanny cynical post. Happy New Year!)
Flourless Chocolate Torte
Adapted from the Nordstrom’s Entertaining at Home Cookbook
The original recipe calls for all semi-sweet chocolate but I like to use a combination of that and bittersweet. Feel free to use whatever ratio you’d like depending on how intense a chocolate flavor you want. I served mine with a raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries, which is completely optional.
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting inside of pan
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 lb (16 ounces) semi-sweet or bittersweet (or some combination) chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
raspberry coulis, optional (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust the sides with cocoa powder and tap out any excess.
In a double boiler or a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring occasionally, until all the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside but don’t allow to cool completely.
In a large bowl wisk egg yolks and vanilla until well blended. Gradually wisk in the warm chocolate mixture until well blended.
In a different medium bowl with an electric or stand mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and continue to beat untill stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining egg whites just until no white streaks remain. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap against the counter to remove any bubbles.
Bake in oven until the edges are puffed and have somewhat pulled away from the pan sides and the center appears cooked through, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, remove the sides of the pan and slide torte on a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar, top with fresh raspberries and raspberry coulis, and serve.
For the raspberry coulis, simply process fresh raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Strain the mixture to remove seeds and taste for sweetness–you may want to add a tablespoon or two of sugar if the coulis is too tart.