Friday, April 18, 2008

Passover and the Pope

Passover and the Pope have taken over the Upper East Side. Barricades on Park Avenue line the streets, and Citarella's is impossible to shop. Thankfully, most of the cooking and baking is done. This year, returning to the Passover Seder, is an adaptation of Fran Bigelow's chocolate torte. It's from her beautifully styled and photographed book Pure Chocolate It is a chocolate and orange torte that is not too sweet and feels like a light brownie with a refreshing orange taste. With the butter glaze, store at room temperature, since chilling dulls the glaze.
Here is the recipe:

Adapted from "Pure Chocolate" by Fran Bigelow

6 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oranges - 2, preferably large navels with dark, rough-textured skin
1 1/2 (12 Tbl.) sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cup almond flour

Chocolate Butter Glaze

4 oz. oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick (8 Tbl.) unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325F
Butter a 7-inch flared cake pan and line with parchment paper. In a double boiler melt the chocolate over low heat.
Wash the oranges and zest them directly in the mixing bowl, so that all the fragrant orange oils are captured. With a wire whisk attachment, beat the room temperature butter until light and fluffy for 3-5 minutes, Add the sugar on medium-high speed until light in colour, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding the eggs slowly, one at a time. Continue beating until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the ground almonds. Then fold in the melted chocolate. Evenly spread the batter in the prepared pan.
-Bake for 40-45 minutes, until puffed and domed in the center with a slight fracture 1 inch from. A cake tester inserted in the center will have a few moist crumbs.

In a double boiler or bowl over simmering water, melt the chocolate. Remove the top of the boiler or bowl when chocolate is nearly melted and continue stirring until smooth. Add the softened butter, slowly stirring with a spatula until no visible traces of butter remaining. (if butter starts to liquefy, stop and let the chocolate cool slightly.)
The glaze should be glossy and smooth with a temperature of 80-85 degrees F. When stirred, it will hold a line on the surface for about 10 sec before disappearing. If the glaze is starting to set up, return briefly to the double boiler.

Place torte on a cooling rack positioned over a rimmed parchment lined baking sheet. Beginning 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the torte, slowly and evenly pour the glaze around the torte layer, making sure that the sides are sufficiently covered. Then pour remaining glaze onto the center.
Working quickly, using a metal offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly over the top, letting excess run down the sides.
Let set at room temp until the glaze is slightly firm. Once set, slide torte onto serving plate. Can be stored at room temp up to 3 days.

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