Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chocolate Pecan Torte: National Pecan Torte Day

August 22 is National Pecan Torte Day.  I've posted many chocolate pecan pie recipes, but a torte is not a pie. Here's a definition from Wiki:
A torte is a cake made primarily with eggs, sugar, and ground nuts instead of flour. Variations may include bread crumbs as well as some flour. Tortes are Central European in origin. The word torte is derived from the German word Torte, which was derived from the Italian word torta, which was used to describe a round cake or bread.
Tortes are commonly baked in a Springform pan. An element common to most tortes is sweet icing. (Exceptions include several French tortes, such as Gâteau Mercédès and Gâteau Alcazar.) When the cake is layered, a thick covering of icing is placed between the layers, and there is almost always icing on the tops and sides of the torte. A number of European tortes do not have layers.
Following are two recipes for Chocolate Pecan Torte. The FIRST is easier and fun to make! Lots of shortcuts. The SECOND is fabulous but much more involved. They're both very tasty! As always, a lot depends on the quality of your ingredients.

1. Chocolate Pecan Torte 
from This recipe is fun to make, as well as easy and delicious. O.K. it's not traditional, but its great!

No-stick flour and oil baking spray
1 prepared 8 or 9 inch pecan pie, thawed if frozen
1 box (about 1 pound 4 ounces) fudge brownie mix, makes a 9-by-13-inch pan
1/4 cup brewed coffee or water
2 tablespoons bourbon or other whiskey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, large or extra-large

Heat oven to 325F. Spray interior of 9-inch springform pan with baking spray.
Cover surface of pie with plastic wrap and top with plate. Invert pie onto plate, and remove pie tin. Invert prepared springform pan over pie and then invert whole, so that  pie slides into pan. Remove plate and, using the plastic wrap to keep your hands clean, smash pie so it fills bottom of pan.
Mix brownie mix, coffee, bourbon, oil, and eggs in medium mixing bowl until smooth and texture of wet mud. Pour over pie and smooth top. Bake until sides are firm and top is crusty but center is still soft, about 50 minutes. Cool until pan is comfortable to touch; remove sides of pan and cool completely. Cut into wedges to serve.
This SECOND recipe won the $1000 1985 Woman's Day "Yummiest Chocolate Recipe Contest." I've changed it slightly, adding more chocolate and an apricot jam filling. This torte is more traditional and reminds me of a Viennese Torte. You can substitute raspberry or peach jam.

2. Chocolate Pecan Torte

Chocolate Pecan Torte:
12 ounces dark  chocolate (70% cacao-fair trade organic)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup softened sweet butter
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sifted flour
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Apricot Filling:
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp orange liqueur
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate Glaze:
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacao)
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp sweet butter

1/2 cup pecan halves
1 Tbsp sweet butter
1 Tbsp Apricot Filling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Butter 9" springform pan and dust with cocoa, shaking out excess. Set aside.
In top of double boiler, over hot water, melt the two chocolates together. Stir until smooth, and completely combined. Remove from heat, and allow chocolate to cool slightly.
Using food processor, grind  pecans fine with about 1/2 cup of the sugar. Add butter and remaining sugar, creaming together well. Beat in egg yolks, rum, and vanilla extract. Add flour and process with the rest. Add melted and cooled chocolate, and process again. It's quite dense.
Whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Mix about 1/3 of beaten egg whites into thick chocolate batter, then fold chocolate mixture into remaining whites, folding thoroughly.
Spread chocolate batter into prepared springform pan, and bake in preheated 325 degrees oven for 30 minutes or more, until toothpick inserted in center comes slightly moist.
Remove torte from oven, and allow to cool and settle in pan.
Take off springform, and transfer torte to its serving dish.

Sieve apricot jam into small saucepan. Add orange liqueur, rum, and lemon juice. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer a moment, then remove pan. Reserve 1 tablespoon of finished glaze for pecan trim, and spread rest over torte. Allow apricot filling to set, then top with chocolate glaze.

In top of double boiler, over hot water, melt chocolate and cream together. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, whisking till smooth. Allow glaze to cool until it will spread smoothly over torte. Use metal spatula to smooth it evenly over top, and coat sides with thinner layer.

In small sauce pan, combine apricot glaze, and butter. Melt them together. Add pecan halves, and stir until all are coated. Drain nuts, and allow to set slightly, then press around edge of torte.

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