Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tyler Florence: Cracked Chocolate Earth (Flourless Chocolate Cake)

It's Valentine's Day Singles' Awareness Day.  A day when I wish I could just crawl under the covers and wait for midnight.  But my mother requested that I make a chocolate cake without too many carbs for dessert, so that plan was scraped.  Sometimes I wish I could pout in peace.

I had seen Tyler Florence make a flourless chocolate cake on his show, and it was a dismal flop, quite literally. Flourless chocolate cake is actually a kind of souffle, relying on the strength of the eggs to hold the whole thing up, so unless you're really steady of hand and just leave it to do its thing in the oven without constantly poking it, the whole thing falls and sags. As I watched his cake deflate on air, I couldn't help but wonder why they didn't do another take.  I mean, that's pretty embarrassing, right??

Tyler's recipe calls for unsweetened fresh whipped cream, but I thought it needed a little powdered sugar in the mix. Not too much; just enough to sweeten it slightly. I also served each slice with a couple of blackberries (raspberries would have been delicious, too), since the slight tang of the berries works well with the dark chocolate.

Cracked Chocolate Earth (Flourless Chocolate Cake)
From Tyler Florence

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, cold
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Put the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted.  Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color.  Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks to temper the eggs; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.

While the cake is cooking, make the whipped cream.  Whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy.  Dust the cake with confectioner's sugar.  Serve at room temperature with whipped cream.

Makes 8 servings

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