Call this “Great Chocolate Torte” for short! Originally, the recipe called for a bar of chocolate, hand-grated. For convenience, chocolate chips may be substituted, “grated” by chopping in a small electric coffee/spice grinder.
This is a flour-free recipe, using toasted bread crumbs and almond meal instead, combined for a great texture. With an easy mousse of Chocolate Cream filling, topped with confectioner’s sugar and chocolate curls, it’s an elegant dessert. Serves 12 or so.
Several slices wheat bread (yielding 2/3 c. dry crumbs)
1 c. raw almonds, ground (or 1 1/2 c. almond meal)
2/3 c. chocolate chips (or 4 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate bar)
1/2 c. additional chocolate chips (or 3 oz. bittersweet or other bar chocolate), for chocolate curls
1 c. butter (plus 1 rounded TBS. for chocolate curls)
1 c. sugar
6 eggs, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. whipping cream
2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1. The dry bread crumbs can be prepared a day early. Process into crumbs: > 3-4 slices wheat bread
2. Spread crumbs on cookie sheet and dry overnight in oven (preheated, then turned off). Or let dry in a 300 degree oven for 10-20 minutes (stirring once or twice), until dried.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cheesecake (spring form) pan.
4. If processing whole almonds into a meal, 1 c. will yield about 1 1/2 c. Set aside 1 1/2 c. almond meal, or process the raw nuts into a fairly fine meal. In blender or food processor, start with: > 1 c. whole almonds (unless 1 1/2 c. almond meal is available)
5. If using a bar of chocolate, hand-grate the 4-oz. bar. If using chocolate chips, grate in a food processor, blender, or electric coffee/spice grinder, until chopped medium-coarse: > 2/3 c. chocolate chips
6. In mixing bowl, beat together: > 1 c. butter > 1 c. sugar
7. Add yolks and continue beating until light and creamy: > 6 yolks > 1 tsp. vanilla
8. Whip until stiff but not dry: > 6 egg whites
9. Mix dry ingredients together: > 2/3 c. dry bread crumbs > the almond meal > the grated chocolate
10. Into the bowl of creamed butter, sugar, and egg yolks, fold in until blended: > The dry ingredients > The whipped egg whites
11. Pour into buttered, floured 9-inch cheesecake pan and bake at 375 degrees 35-40 minutes.
12. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan.
13. Refrigerate several hours to cool and set completely, then cut through torte to create two layers. It may be slightly moist inside; set the bottom half (cut side up) on cake plate, spreading with Chocolate Cream filling. Add top layer and dust with confectioner’s sugar (best done by shaking it on with a sifter or strainer). Decorate with chocolate curls.
CHOCOLATE CREAM FILLING, PREPARATION
1. To prepare chocolate filling, mix well (or sift) to remove lumps: > 2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar > 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2. Whip until light: > 1 c. whipping cream
3. Fold in: > the confectioner’s sugar/cocoa blend
CHOCOLATE CURLS, PREPARATION*
1. Microwave 30-60 seconds until melted; mix until smooth: > 1 rounded TBS. butter > 1/2 c. chocolate chips (or 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, or your favorite)
2. Mix the melted mixture together until smooth. Spread as thinly as possible into a rectangle on a cookie sheet (about 12-inch x 16-inch).
3. Set in freezer 10 or more minutes, until almost hard. If fingerprint remains, it’s probably still too soft. When just cool enough, take metal spatula and scrape across the chocolate rectangle, like a snow plow would across a street of snow. Chocolate will curl up as it is scraped up off the cookie sheet. If still too warm, chill some more. If it’s gotten too cold, set in warm oven a few moments.
4. Let chocolate curls chill again, to be firm enough to arrange on the cake.
* Pioneer Woman has a great picture tutorial of the chocolate-curling process, here. I tweaked the recipe because I didn’t want to use shortening. Butter (or coconut oil, for that matter) substitute just fine! Also, I prefer to use chocolate chips, because they’re usually cheaper than something like “Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares”.