Saturday, September 27, 2008
In the town I grew up, there's a little Italian restaurant owned by one of my friends' dad. Rachel's Dad's Restaurant is what we always called it. It's really very tasty, and it's in the top three of my "must visit" list for every time I go home. Naturally, when I started taking Tim home with me, Rachel's Dad's Restaurant was one of the first places we went.
And Rachel's dad makes a chocolate torte that is to die for. Hands down it's the best chocolate dessert I've ever had, anytime, anywhere. So naturally, I made sure I ordered one for Tim, because I sure as heck wasn't going to share mine.
Long story short, Tim asked me last weekend to try to make a torte for him, so I found a recipe, bought the stuff, and attacked it head on. I believe the exact words out of my mouth after I tasted it were, "Oh my effing god....I rule!" It's pretty darn good.
One cup unsalted butter (two sticks)
Nine ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, in pieces
Six large eggs, separated
One cup sugar
One teaspoon vanilla extract
One-quarter teaspoon cream of tartar
Separate the eggs, cover with plastic wrap, and bring to room temperature, 30 minutes or more. When they're ready, pour the yolks into a mixing bowl and beat with half a cup sugar using the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until they're light, lemon-colored, and thick, about five minutes.
While they're beating, melt the butter and chocolate. (The recipe said to use a double boiler, I used the microwave. I think either way will be okay.) When the eggs are done, pour in the chocolate and the vanilla and beat until combined. Set aside.
In a clean bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the remaining half cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and cover with non-stick spray or melted butter.
Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten the batter. Fold slowly and carefully until the egg whites are just incorporated. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate. Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool, and enjoy! (Note: the top of the torte will collapse when you take it out of the oven; that's normal and good. Don't panic.)
P.S. For whipped cream, you need a pint of whipping cream, two teaspoons vanilla, and a little more than a quarter cup of sugar. Beat on high speed in your mixer (whisk attachment) for about three minutes until thickened, then add in the vanilla and sugar and beat until even thicker. Refrigerate the unused portion.
The boring stuff:
Takes about an hour of prep and an hour of baking.
Makes one nine-inch torte. Serves one greedy fiance or eight reasonable chocolate-lovers.