Friday, December 18, 2015

Gluten Free Sacher Torte: Guest post by Wendy Hornsby

Today I welcome back Wendy Hornsby. I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Edgar-award winner Wendy Hornsby is the author of 11 mysteries. Next from Wendy Hornsby, Disturbing the Dark, from Perseverance Press, April 2016. 

Wendy Hornsby:

When we sit down to a meal, we want everyone at the table to be able to enjoy every dish we set before them. Accommodating special dietary needs might take a little extra thought, but doesn’t really take much extra effort, if any, to prepare. I would certainly never put something deliciously chocolate in front of my gluten-intolerant daughter and tell her she couldn’t have any.

Last Christmas my family enjoyed the rich Sacher Torte Janet posted on Dying for Chocolate. Because the Sacher torte uses very little flour, it was easy to make a gluten free version. I just substituted the same measure of all purpose Namaste gluten free flour for wheat flour (there are several brands out there, Namaste is the one I use). GF cakes are more delicate than cakes that have wheat gluten to bind them, so I sliced the torte into only two layers instead of three, though a braver person might try three. Once I converted ounces of sugar and butter to tablespoons, the cake was fairly easy to make. My version and notes are attached.

The chocolate Genoise sheet of the Buche de Noel recipe you posted the other day also uses very little flour, so simply substituting gluten free flour should work. I would add a fourth egg yolk as extra binding. Do check to make sure the baking powder is gluten free. I make my own baking powder as I need it so I can certain of what’s in it. The formula is 1 measure (i.e. teaspoon) of baking soda to 2 measures of cream of tartar.  If you make a quantity and want to store it, add 1 measure of corn starch to stabilize it. Gluten free cakes and breads generally don’t hold up for very long, so it’s risky to make them very far ahead of serving them.

Gluten Free Sacher Torte 

6 ozs. good bittersweet chocolate cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp butter
4 egg yolks
2 ¼ Tbsp sugar, plus 7 Tbsp (a scant ½ cup)*
5 egg whites
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup all purpose gluten free flour, such as Namaste or King Arthur gluten free

Apricot filling:
1 ½ c. apricot preserves
1 Tbsp apricot brandy

6 ozs. Bittersweet chocolate cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp butter
2 ozs. heavy cream (whipping cream)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9” by 2” cake pan

For the cake: 
In a bowl, combine chocolate and butter and melt over a double boiler. Set aside to cool. Whip egg yolks with with 2 ¼ Tbsp sugar until light colored and ribbony. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture.

In another bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining 7 Tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in flour. Fold 1/3 of egg white mixture into chocolate. Carefully fold in remaining egg whites, thoroughly but gently. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until paring knife inserted into middle comes out clean. Remove from rack and cool on rack.

The filling: 
Puree the preserves. Stir in brandy. Slice the cake into 2 or 3 equal layers.** Spread filling on top of each layer. Stack the layers and chill for at least 30 minutes.

The glaze: 
in a bowl, combine chocolate and butter and melt over a double boiler. In a small pan, bring the cream to a boil. Stir into melted chocolate. Cool until it reaches glazing (spreadable) consistency. Spread over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve: the torte is very rich. Cut into cut into narrow slices (about 2-3 inches at the wide end) and serve with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side of the plate.

*Measurement notes: I converted the measurements for ounces called for in the original recipe posted on the Dying for Chocolate blog to Tablespoons for butter and sugar. 1 ounce of sugar = 2 ¼ Tbs. and 3 ounces of sugar converts to 6 ¾ Tbs., or .4375 cup (a very scant half cup); I rounded it up to 7 Tbs. By weight, 1 ounce of butter = 2 Tbs. 

**Assembly note: Gluten free flour makes a more fragile cake than all purpose wheat flour, so I cut the cake into 2 layers instead of 3 rather than risk having it fall apart.

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