Recipe: Bittersweet chocolate torte by Natasha MacAller
Rich, simple, deep-dark chocolate enhanced with coffee and vanilla. The key to this flourless fallen soufflé torte is gently folding the whites into the chocolate batter.
Serves about 12
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g 70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 10ml strong espresso, cooled or 1tsp espresso powder dissolved in 2tsp water
- 1ml pure vanilla extract
- 7 eggs, large, separated, at room temperature
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 200g caster sugar
- 2tsp icing sugar, to serve
- 2tsp cocoa powder, to serve
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat, then stir in the salt, coffee and vanilla, and set aside.
Butter the inside of a 20cm springform pan and line the bottom with a buttered baking paper circle. (You can also make individual-sized cakes; simply reduce the baking time to 10-15 minutes.)
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. In a clean, dry, stand-mixer bowl with whip attachment, or using a hand-held mixer with clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites until frothy. Sprinkle in the cream of tartar and whip for another 30 seconds. On a low speed, slowly stream in half the caster sugar, then turn the speed to high and whip until glossy soft peaks form. (Do not overbeat or the whites will be dry and separate.) Transfer the mix to a large, dry bowl and set aside.
Return the mixer bowl to the machine. Add the yolks and the remaining caster sugar. Whip on a high speed for three to four minutes until the yolks are pale yellow and have tripled in volume. Turn the speed to low and fold in the cooled, melted chocolate until just mixed.
Turn off the mixer and fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in three stages, not over-mixing but without leaving white streaks.
Pour into a prepared pan and lightly smooth the top. Place on a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is lightly cracked and the centre is set but still a little jiggly.
Cool for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the inside of the pan. Gently release the metal ring and transfer the torte to a serving plate to cool completely.
Dust with powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with salted almonds and fleur de lait amande. A snifter of cognac, bourbon or a steamy espresso are also great accompaniments.
Fleur de lait amande
Makes 1 litre
- 80g sliced almonds, skin on
- 600ml almond milk
- 20g cornflour
- 50g dark brown sugar
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 15ml pure vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp cider vinegar
- 10ml almond liqueur (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Toast the almonds on a baking tray until they are dark golden brown. Roughly chop the almonds and add to the almond milk. Cover and soak overnight.
Blitz with a blender and strain through a chinois. Discard the almonds. Pour 60ml of the almond milk into the cornflour, whisk to combine, then mix into the rest of the milk. Add the sugar and salt, then bring to a simmer, stirring to thicken for two minutes. Mix in the remaining ingredients then chill before spinning in an ice-cream maker. Freeze until firm.
Recipe taken from Vanilla Table by Natasha MacAller