This post finishes off the Christmas 2011 Meal...
Choosing the dessert for Christmas took quite some time and was a choice between going down the route of a tried and tested or doing something new. As I usually do when deciding on a dessert, I leafed through my numerous cookbooks. My son sat with me as I was rifling through pages and pages when his eyes fell on the Truffle Torte from my Le Cordon Bleu cookbook. "Dads, can you make that for dessert?" he asked as he tapped his finger on the page.
I had often wanted to try out this cake but the amount of chocolate it required coupled with the fact that it required a very thin sponge to be made had always deterred me. Not this time however. I scanned the recipe, smiled up at my boy and promptly declared that this would be dessert for Christmas Eve dinner.
This recipe is interesting in that it calls for a little bit of gelatine and liquid glucose to thicken the chocolate. I decided to substitute Honey for liquid glucose. I also decided that since I was using dark chocolate for the filling, I would use some milk chocolate for the chocolate pieces that would go around the cake. The final modification that I did was to top the cake with caramelised almonds for that extra crunch rather than to dust the top with cocoa as the recipe called for.
The sponge was fairly easy to whip up especially since the eggs are beaten over a pot of simmering water. The eggs fluffed up really nicely and didnt deflate too much once the flour was folded in. The cake was nice and soft and in fact bits of the top stuck to the cooling rack as I left it to cool a tad too long. Next time I should place some non-stick paper over the cooling rack.
This is my modified recipe based on the one from Le Cordon Bleu Home Collection - Chocolate.
2 1/2 Tbsp Caster Sugar
4 Tbsp Plain Flour
1 Tbps Cocoa
330g Good Quality Dark Chocolate
200g bar of milk chocolate
1 tsp gelatine powder
1 Tbsp honey
500ml Whipping Cream
To make the sponge: preheat the oven to 170C. Butter and flour a 8 inch springform pan. Half fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Put the eggs and sugar into a large heatproof bowl and place over the saucepan making sure it is not touching the water. Using electric beaters, whisk for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is thick and light, has doubled in volume and leaves a trail as it falls from the beaters. The temperature of the mixture should never be hot, only warm. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and continue to beat until cold. Sift the flour and cocoa together and carefully fold into the whisked mixture with a large metal spoon or plastic spatula until just combined. Pour the mixture into the tin and gently smooth the top with the back of the spoon. Bake for about 15 minutes or until springy and shrinking from the sides of the tin. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Clean the cake tin so it is ready to use later.
Trim the top crust from the sponge using a long serrated knife. Cut the cake into a disc no more that 1.5cm thick and to just fit inside the tin. Place on a 8 inch cake card inside the tin or directly on the base of the tin. (I used a cake ring placed over a square cake board). Brush the sponge with the rum.
Put the chocolate into a bowl. Half fill a saucepan with water and bring the the boil. Remove from the heat and place the bowl of chocolate over the pan making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Leave the chocolate to melt slowly, then remove the bowl from the pan. Stir the gelatine powder and 1 Tbsp water over a pan of simmering water until dissolved. Add in the honey and stir well. Pour onto the melted chocolate mixing thoroughly. If mixture turns lumpy, heat very gently over a pan of simmering water until smooth. Let cool.
Whip the cream till soft peaks form and then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Do not overmix. Fill the tin to the top with the truffle mixture and level with a pallete knife. Refrigerate for a few hours, preferable overnight.
For the sides, melt the bar of milk chocolate and spread onto a sheet of non-stick paper and spread to a thickness of 2mm. Refrigerate until set then break off large pieces and stick on the side of the torte. Dust the torte with cocoa powder (I used caramelised almonds instead)
So yes, a rather long and tedious recipe but when you actually make it, it really doesn't seem that long nor tedious.
After brushing the cake with rum I used my dessert ring to surround the cake rather than a springform as I wanted the cake to sit on a cake board instead of the springform base. Making the truffle filling was very easy too. As I mentioned, I substituted the Liquid glucose for honey and I'm still wondering why there was a need for gelatine as I am sure the truffle filling would have held up on its own. I think I scrimped a bit on the chocolate for the pieces surrounding the cake as I didnt get a large enough bar! So when I tried sticking the pieces on, they were rather thin and the heat of the kitchen and my hands started to melt the pieces rather quickly.
I think the addition of the caramelised almonds really made a difference as the crunchy, nutty, sweetness complemented the taste of the dark chocolate really well. The truffle filling actually resembled a really thick mousse and it was very chocolatey and flavourful. The thin layer of cake offset the creaminess of the truffle filling and provided a nice change in texture. The cake practcally melts in your mouth and my son came running up to me for seconds even before I had finished serving the rest of the guests! I told him to wait his turn while everone else had a slice first then proceeded to give him a larger piece that he devoured just as quickly!
I was actually a little surprised at how easy this cake is to make especially since it produces such sensational results. My darling boy certainly loved this cake and my little Princess quickly agreed. I would have to agree with them that the cake was really pretty amazing. Definitely something I want to make again and I'm so glad my son spotted this and asked me to make it as I would probably have just left it as one of my 'want to makes' instead of actually making it!