Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Rum Tart

A few years ago I was visiting a friend in Portland and she took me to Corbett's Fish House.  Now, people who know me know that I don't do fish, so this was a stretch for me.  I was very impressed that all their foods were gluten free, the bread and batter in rice flour and even had a gluten free dessert.  My friend got a piece of their gluten free cake and took it home with us.  If I had tried it before we left, I would have bought a couple (cakes not slices) to bring home with me!

It was a flour-less chocolate torte with an almond crust and macaroons soaked in butter rum sauce baked right inside the torte.  Decadent, sinful, rich, delectable, heavenly, these things don't even begin to describe this cake, for this cake, there are not English words to describe the feeling, it probably should be illegal.  Even the hardened chocoholics among us can only eat a small piece.

This cake is lots of work, and it's really expensive.  I only make it for special occasions, and I try to freeze some of it, since it freezes well.  On the bright side, it is so rich that you can easily serve 20 people one cake!

Okay, the first thing to make is the macaroons, I usually make them a day or two ahead of time.

Now make the rum sauce...
Try not to eat it all before you make the cake, maybe you better double the recipe just in case :-)

Next, bake the almond tart crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 10" spring-form pan.

About an hour before you make the Chocolate Oblivion, place enough macaroons to completely cover the bottom of the spring-form pan 2 times (this will vary depending on the size of the macaroons) in a bowl.  Add a few extra and then cover with the butter rum sauce.  You may have to stir them around gently to get them completely covered.  Set them aside and let the sauce soak in.

Last of all, make the Chocolate Oblivion Torte:

Beranbaum says this is her favorite way to eat chocolate. It is baked at a high temperature for a short time in a water bath delivering what she calls a result that is like the creamiest truffle wedded to the purest chocolate mousse. Be sure to serve it a room temperature, not chilled. I used Sharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet chocolate. Read through the recipe before starting, it is an easy cake to make, but there are lots of side notes that are important to the success of the cake.

Ingredients (all at room temperature):
bittersweet chocolate: 1 pound or 5 1/3 (3-ounce) bars or 454 grams (I use either 70 or 80% Lindt bars that you can find in the candy section of most grocery stores)
unsalted butter: 1 cup or 1/2 pound or 227 grams
6 large eggs: separated
1/4 Cup sugar

Prepare pan: outside of pan wrapped with a double layer of heavy-duly foil to prevent seepage. A roasting pan large enough for the spring-form pan to sit flat in it for the water bath.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a medium size glass mixing bowl in the microwave.  Add the chocolate and let stand, stirring occasionally, until smooth and melted.  If the mixture cools you can re-heat it double boil style by placing the bowl into simmering water on the stove.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar with the bowl sitting in the simmering water (make sure you use a glass or metal bowl) and add to the chocolate mixture. Make sure they are room temperature or they will cool the chocolate mixture causing a curdled texture.

In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water heat the eggs whites, stirring constantly to prevent curdling, until just warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and beat, using the whisk beater, until triple in volume and soft peaks form when the beater is raised. The egg whites also need to be room temperature to prevent curdling.  If you do curdle the chocolate by mistake, don't stress, it will still taste great, it just won't look as smooth.

Using a large rubber spatula, fold 1/2 the eggs into the chocolate mixture until almost incorporated. Fold in the remaining eggs until just blended and no streaks remain. Finish by using a rubber spatula to ensure that the heavier mixture at the bottom is incorporated.

Put a thin layer of the chocolate in the bottom of the pan with the almond crust.  Arrange a layer of the rum soaked macaroons in the pan.  Spread half the remaining chocolate on top of the macaroons.  Arrange the remaining macaroons in the next layer.  Spread the remainder of the chocolate on top.  Smooth the top.

Strain any lumps of macaroon out of the rum sauce remaining in the bowl and save the sauce to garnish the cake.  I won't tell if you eat the rum soaked macaroon bits with a spoon!

Set the pan in the larger pan and surround it with 1 inch very hot water. Bake 5 minutes. Cover loosely with a piece of oiled foil and bake 10 minutes. (The cake will look soft, but this is as it should be.)

Let the cake cool on a rack 45 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours.

Serve: Room temperature. Drizzle with left over rum sauce. Cut into narrow wedges with a thin sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water.

Pointers for success: For a moist airy texture, be sure to add beaten eggs to chocolate mixture and not the chocolate to the eggs. Wrapping the pan with foil keeps it watertight. Chill thoroughly before unmolding.

So, as you can guess, I don't make this cake for every occasion, but when I really want a rich dessert, or I want to knock the socks off someone, this is where I turn.  Enjoy!