Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2 Flourless Chocolate Tortes (1 Even Has Sweet Potatoes)

I have a lot of dessert in the house that I would like to share with you, so please, have a slice of torte. Or two.

Both of these tortes are notable for what they don't have: No wheat. No dairy. No nuts. They are Passover friendly, suitable for gluten-free diets, and chocolate to boot. What's not to love?

First up is the Mock Chestnut (Sweet Potato-Chocolate) Torte, adapted from a Marcy Goldman recipe. I feel virtuous just saying the name of the recipe -- hey, it's got sweet potatoes -- but there's no mistaking this for anything other than dessert. The torte is rich, but not cloying, and has a wonderfully dense texture that slices neatly, though you can't see that in the picture below.

Mock Chestnut Torte, dusted with cocoa powder for a slightly bitter undertone.

The second torte, which I think I will dub the Vanishing Baked Chocolate Mousse, is adapted from a Robin Miller recipe. It still has a decadent amount of eggs and chocolate, but it feels considerably lighter than the other recipe because it is made without any solid fat. It's surprisingly easy to keep nibbling on the torte ... you know, just to even up the edges.

Baked Chocolate Mousse with a sprinkling of pulverized sugar.

Mock Chestnut (Sweet Potato-Chocolate) Torte

This is essentially Marcy Goldman's recipe, which you can find published on Epicurious and The Washington Post. Goldman recommends topping the torte with a chocolate ganache and decorating it with her Caramel Matzoh Crunch, better known in my household as Matzah Crack. This, I think, would be overkill. Instead, consider dusting the torte with some cocoa, and serve with fresh berries on the side. Serves 12 to 14.

1/2 cup unsalted margarine (Kosher for Passover and/or dairy free, according to your needs)
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (from about 2 large sweet potatoes)
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I had a 9-ounce bag of semisweet chips, which I supplemented with an ounce of bittersweet chocolate)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Unsweetened cocoa and fresh berries, for serving (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch springform pan with baking parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the margarine with the 1/3 cup sugar. Beat in the egg yolks, sweet potatoes, and cooled chocolate.

In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, gently whip the egg whites until they are foamy. Add in the salt, increase the speed on the mixer, and beat the whites, slowly dusting in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, until the whites form stiff, glossy peaks.

Fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate batter to loosen it, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Mix thoroughly but gently so you do not deflate the mixture. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes. When done, the cake will look dry and slightly cracked on top, and the middle will be soft but firm. Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before removing the outer ring, and chill the torte for an hour or two in the refrigerator before serving. Just before serving, dust the torte with unsweetened cocoa. Serve alongside fresh berries, if desired.
Vanishing Baked Chocolate Mousse Torte

Adapted from a Robin Miller recipe published by Spry. You can make a Passover version of confectioners' sugar by pulverizing granulated sugar with potato starch in a small food processor. I've seen two different ratios for doing this: 1 cup sugar to 1 Tbsp potato starch OR 2/3 cup sugar to 1 tsp potato starch. Because the quantity of sugar in this recipe is so low, I skipped the potato starch and just pulverized my granulated sugar plain. Makes 12 servings.

4 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (or use another 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate, as in the original recipe)
8 large eggs, separated
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1/4 cup pulverized sugar (or confectioners' sugar), plus extra for serving

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with a neutral oil and line the bottom with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate (in a microwave or in a double boiler, over simmering water) and let cool.

Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl until thick and pale. Beat in the cooled chocolate and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, whip the whites with the sugar until soft peaks form. Fold one-quarter of the whites into the chocolate batter to loosen it, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Mix thoroughly but gently so you do not deflate the mixture. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the torte is almost set but still a little jiggly in the center. The torte will firm up, and deflate, as it cools. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill completely before removing the torte from its pan. Dust with sugar just before serving, if desired.