Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day Dessert - Sachertorte

Featured Ingredient: Apricot Halves

The Sachertorte originates from Vienna, Austria, a beautiful romantic city. I have traveled to some beautiful European cities three times in my life and ironically every time, I traveled solo. There was just something magical about traveling as a young woman to a beautiful country in search of romance.

If you have already have that someone special or have a similar love for chocolate with a hint of fruit, this dessert is for you.  I will caveat that this is not a time saving recipe.  But if you are creating it for someone you love, I'm sure you don't mind spending a little extra time.  The cake is adapted from Bon Appetit.  The apricot and chocolate glaze recipes were modified to incorporate elements of our Featured Ingredient.

This dessert requires a lot of tools and equipment, but is really well worth effort.

4 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, like Ghiradelli, finely chopped
9 tbsps unsalted butter ( 1 stick plus 1 tbsp) at cool room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar
6 large eggs separated, cool room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour

Torte: Heat oven to 375F.  Butter a 9 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust sides of the pan with flour and tap out excess.

Melt chocolate in the double boiler over simmering water stirring with whisk or microwave at medium power.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Beat butter in stand mixer with paddle blade on medium high speed until smooth about 1 minute.  On low speed at confectioner's sugar.  Return to higher speed and beat until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.  Beat in egg yolks one at a time.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Beat in chocolate and vanilla.

In a separate large bowl, beat egg whites and granulated sugar with a hand held mixer at high speed  until they form shiny white peaks. 
Stir in about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining egg whites, leaving some whites showing. Sift half of the flour over the chocolate mixture, gently fold in with a rubber spatula.  Sift remaining flour and fold in gently again.

Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove sides of pan and invert the cake onto the rack. Remove paper. Flip cake back over and cool completely.
While cake cools make Apricot Glaze

1 15oz. can Unpeeled Apricots - peeled and pureed
(Save syrup in the can for use in the Chocolate Glaze)
3 heaping tablespoons Apricot Jam

Remove apricots from can and remove apricot skin with your fingers.  The apricots are soft, so the skin comes off rather easily. Puree apricots in a food processor or mini chopper until smooth.  Add to saucepan along with the apricot jam.  Whisk to incorporate. 

Bring apricot mixture to rolling boil over medium heat and cook stirring occasionally with a whisk until thickened, about 5 minutes. Use while still warm.

Apricot Glaze

 Back to Torte:

Using a long serrated knife, trim top of cake to make level.  Cut cake horizontally into two equal layers (as best as possible).   Brush top of cake generously with glaze.  Brush top of bottom layer with glaze, spread any remaining glaze in center of bottom layer and replace top layer.  Be sure to glaze sides of cake as well.  Let cool for about 1/2 hour until glaze is set.

Place cake on a cake stand and place fat strips of parchment paper under the cake.  The paper will catch the overflowing chocolate glaze that we will make next. 

Chocolate Glaze
3/4 cup heavy syrup from apricots
6 ozs. Dark semi sweet chocolate coarsley chopped.(I bought a special block for this).

In a heavy bottom medium size sauce pan bring the syrup and chocolate to a rapid boil.  Reduce heat to medium. Using a digital thermoter cook and stir glaze until it reaches 234F.  Remove from heat.
Stir to cool and slightly thicken about 1 minute.  Pour gently over cake spreading evenly over the top and sides with an offset spatula.  Place in the fridge for about 1 hour to harden.  The chocolate glaze should have a soft fudge like consistency when set, not like a hard ganache.

Serve with whipped cream or additional apricot puree for color.

Easy Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk on high speed until white peaks form.  Don't over beat or you'll get butter.

Valentine's Day - Sachertorte
May you have a wonderful evening.

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