Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mocha Pecan Torte

We entertained about 100-120 of our friends on Saturday. Yes, we do like to do things in a grand scale, and no, it was not in our house since it surely would not accomodate this number of guests. The dessert we served was Mocha Pecan Torte from Alice Medrich's Cocolat. Since this is a dense torte best served in thin slices, eight tortes were enough to feed a crowd of this size. It was quite a hectic day, and the only chance I had to take pictures was earlier in the day when the tortes were still in their springform pans. I will just have to make this dessert again some time soon, and replace the picture above with a better one. This is one of my favorite Cocolat recipes, packed with pecans and topped with Mocha glaze. And although I am not a coffee drinker, I love the way it pairs with pecans and chocolate in this dessert.
  • 6 oz chocolate (preferably bittersweet) cut into pieces
  • 6 oz butter, cut into pieces ( I accidentally used 4 ounces of butter, and it worked just fine)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 c ground pecans
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • Mocha Glaze (recipe below)
  • 1 oz white chocolate, chopped if you plan to marble the glaze
  • 1/2 chopped toasted pecans for the sides
Preheat oven to 350F. Line bottom of 9-inch pan with waxed paper. Combine butter and chocolate and melt using your method of choice. Beat egg yolks with 1/2 c sugar until thick and light colored. Stir in the chocolate, ground pecans and flour. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks start to form. Then increase the speed and gradually add the remaining 1/4 c sugar until stiff peaks start to form. Fold about 1/4 of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten the batter. (If your chocolate mixture is too thick by this time, you can put your bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until it becomes more managable.) Then add the rest of the egg whites quickly. Turn it into prepared pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes. The sides should have set and the center should still show moist crumbs when plunged with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Cool the cake in its pan. It will have risen and fallen with some possible cracking of the crust. Remove the sides and unmold the torte. I like to serve it bottom side up, and definitely level it to prepare for glazing. It can be wrapped and stored at this stage for 3 days or frozen up to 3 months. It actually tastes better when made at least 1 day ahead. Onced glazed, do not refrigerate it because the glaze will lose its lovely sheen. You can marble the top with white chocolate when the glaze is still wet, and press the chopped pecans on the sides to decorate.

Mocha Glaze

I am giving you the amount Alice gave in the book for a 8"-10" torte. But I must add that we always have quite a bit left when I am done with glazing. Needless to say, nobody complains. You can always remelt the glaze and use it in a different project. I used semisweet chocolate although Alice says milk chocolate works better with coffee.
  • 1o oz milk chocolate, cut into tiny bits
  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbs light corn syrup
  • 1 tbs plus 1 tsp powdered instant coffee, dissolved in a few drops of water
Put heavy cream and light corn syrup in a pan and bring to simmer. Add the coffee and stir to mix. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and stir until it is smoothly melted. Use at 100F to glaze your torte.