Friday, August 13, 2010

The best thing I ever ate: Chocolate Truffle Torte

My friend Matt says this is the best thing he ever ate... Chocolate Truffle Torte.
Easy to make but you need to know the techniques or it soon becomes VERY intimidating.
The first thing you have to do is Mise en Place.. or get all ingredients measured out and ready. You can't do a good job if you're not organized.

So below are the ingredients for the base of the torte which is a Genoise
A genoise is a dry cake layer with not much flavor so typically it has a syrup to soak it with and it basically holds filling together. When you make a Genoise cake, the filling is more important than the cake layer. Genoise is very delicate so not a lot of flavorings can be added. In this case we are using cocoa powder.

Genoise starts by heating up eggs and sugar over a bain marie and whisking until the mixture is hot. This is so that the sugar will dissolve completely and the mixture is more stable when we whip it. Don't let the eggs get so hot that they curdle. Take mixture out of bain marie when it feels hot to the touch. If it BURNS you've gone too far.

Next you want to whip the mixture off the heat until thick and you can leave a mark in the batter and it holds as in the photo below.

Then you want to sift the dry ingredients gently over the foamy mixture until incorporated. You must sift the ingredients or you will get lumps.

Note that cocoa powder is acidic and will cause the foamy mixture to deflate a little more than if you had only flour.

Gently spread mixture in a parchment covered pan. Don't grease the sides of the pan, the cake needs them to be able to grow and pull itself up. It won't grow too much but we need to give it all the help it can get.
The cake is done when you push down the center and it springs back. It's about 15 minutes.

When the cake comes out and is cool, peel the parchment, and moisten it with syrup or alcohol mixture.
Taa daa.. and the genoise is ready to use!!

The next part of this cake is the Mousse which is basically chocolate and whipped cream. A note on chocolate.. the better the quality, the better the outcome. Valrhona is the king of chocolate at this day but there are many other good quality brands available for lower price such as Guittard, Felchlin, Callebaut. Choose a REAL chocolate. When I say real I mean one that has cocoa butter in it and not vegetable oils and other fats which aren't part of the cocoa bean to begin with. Those are the types of fats used in comercial candy bars and which make it not bloom. Bloom is the grey film that occurs on the surface of chocolate with time. This happens due to the chocolate loosing its temper. Valrhona however is made so well that it will never come out of temper and is the reason why professionals love to work with it.
The best chocolate to use is a bittersweet chocolate with no milk solids in it. About 60-75% is good.
Chop it up into little chards but slicing at the edge of the chocolate with a sharp knife.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and let cool to room temperature.

Then you want to whip your cream to soft peaks. Make sure the cream is cold as well as the tools you will be using so that it whips faster.
Whip until the cream holds peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl.

Then you want to fold your cream into the melted chocolate a little at a time and incorporate until uniform.

Spread on top of the prepared genoise inside a spring form and level it out.

Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap until set.
When it's set you want to run a knife through the edge and remove the spring form. It may look messy but don't worry.. It will be fixable.

You can either run a hot spatula around the mousse to smooth it out.. or you can add chocolate decorations or a chocolate collar to the outside with melted chocolate on acetate paper.
Another great decoration technique is modeling chocolate which you can make by melting chocolate and adding corn syrup to. It will make it workable and you can make shapes.

You can cover the cake all the way or you can simply dust some cocoa powder on top for a quick finish.

And you have a beautiful truffle torte which will impress anyone and taste even better.
Plate it nicely on a cake stand with some truffles around it or chocolate bonbons. It's chocolatey goodness.

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