• Alternating layers of chocolate Bavarian cream, coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache separate thin layers of rum-soaked almond sponge cake. RECIPEINGREDIENTS: Almond Sponge Cake 5 egg whites 4 ounces sugar 2 ounces almond meal 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 2½ ounces cake flour 2 whole eggs Coffee Buttercream 1½ ounces water 10 ounces sugar 6 egg yolks 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cool room temperature 1½ tablespoons espresso or very strong black coffee Crème Anglaise 2 cups milk 6 ounces sugar 1/2 vanilla bean pod, split 6 egg yolks Chocolate Bavarian 1 packet unflavored gelatin 2 tablespoons cold water 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 1 cup crème anglaise (above) 3 cups heavy (whipping) cream Ganache 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 8 ounces heavy (whipping) cream Rum Syrup 2 cups water 4 ounces sugar 1 tablespoon rum additional 1/2 recipe of crème anglaise (above) 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped fresh raspberries DIRECTIONS: To make the sponge: Line two 1/2-inch-deep sheet pans with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a deep bowl, beat the egg whites with one-half of the sugar until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy. Transfer to a clean bowl. Sift the almond meal, baking powder and cake flour together on parchment paper. In a deep bowl, beat the whole eggs and remaining sugar until the mixture thickens and turns pale yellow. Gently fold one-half of the whites into the yolk mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients. Very gently fold in the remaining whites. Spread into the prepared pans and bake 7 to 10 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove from pan and cool completely on a rack. To make the buttercream: Mix the water and sugar together in a heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat until the mixture reaches 242 F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage). Do not stir; wipe away any crystals that form on the side of the pan with a damp brush. In a deep bowl, beat the egg yolks until they thicken and turn pale yellow. Continue beating and slowly add the sugar mixture in a small stream. When all the sugar has been added, continue beating until the mixture has cooled and is light and fluffy. Beat in the butter, a tablespoon at a time. When all the butter has been added, beat in the coffee extract. Store the buttercream in the refrigerator until ready to use. To make the crème anglaise: Put the milk and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean pieces with the point of a sharp knife and drop into the milk and sugar. Drop the pods into the mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and take out the vanilla bean pods. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a small bowl to break them up. Whisk in a large spoonful of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs. Reduce the heat under the milk mixture to medium-low and slowly whisk in the egg-milk mixture. Cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. To make the Bavarian: Sprinkle the gelatin into the water and let soak. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Remove from heat. In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the crème anglaise and stir in the gelatin mixture, continuing to stir until it has completely dissolved. Stir the crème anglaise into the chocolate. In a deep bowl, beat the cream until it stands in soft peaks. Gently fold a large spoonful of the cream into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining cream. To make the ganache: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Remove from heat. Bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Blend the hot cream into the chocolate. To make the rum syrup: Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature and stir in the rum. To assemble: Cut each sponge layer into 4 strips lengthwise. Place the first of these layers on a long platter or a piece of heavy cardboard cut to fit and covered with foil. Brush with rum syrup. Spread with a thin layer of coffee buttercream. Add a second layer of sponge, pressing down gently, and paint with rum syrup (paint each successive layer of sponge with rum syrup as you build the torte). Put the Bavarian in a pastry bag fitted with a large flat tip and pipe a layer of chocolate Bavarian on the sponge. Add the next layer of sponge, brush with rum syrup and spread with ganache. Top with another layer of sponge, brush with rum syrup and top with coffee buttercream. Top with a final layer of sponge, brush with rum syrup and a final layer of coffee buttercream. Spread the top with ganache, smoothing the ganache. Chill until set, 30 to 40 minutes. To serve: In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt semisweet chocolate. Put the chocolate in a pastry bag with a small plain tip. Slice the torte into serving portions with a very sharp serrated knife. Place slightly off-center on serving plates. Pipe a row of chocolate scrolls diagonally across the top of each. Put a spoonful of crème anglaise on each plate. Pipe 3 chocolate music notes in the crème anglaise on each plate. Pipe chocolate scrolls on the plates at the forward edge of the crème anglaise and center with a raspberry. Note: Leftover sponge may be used to make mini versions of the torte.

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