I thought my first post should be a prize winner, so here is my $1,000 chocolate pecan torte to inspire your holiday baking.
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE PECAN TORTE:
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sifted flour
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup peach jam
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sweet butter
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon sweet butter
1 tablespoon Peach Filling
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Butter a 9″ springform pan*, and dust it with cocoa, shaking out the excess. Set aside. A 10” springform pan will also work, but the peach jam layer will be spread more thinly.
Torte: In the top of a double boiler, over hot water, melt the two chocolates together. Stir until smooth, and completely combined. Remove from the heat, and allow the chocolate to cool slightly.
Using a food processor, grind the pecans fine with about 1/2 cup of the sugar. Add the butter and the remaining sugar, creaming together well. Beat in the egg yolks, the rum, and the vanilla extract. Now, add the flour and process it in with the rest. Add the melted and cooled chocolate, and process again. The mixture will be very dense.
Whip the egg whites until they are stiff and peaky. Mix about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the thick chocolate batter, then fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining whites, folding thoroughly.
Spread the chocolate batter into the prepared springform pan, and bake in the preheated 325degrees oven approximately 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes slightly moist. Remove the torte from the oven, and allow it to cool and settle in the pan. Take off the springform, and transfer the torte to its serving dish.
Peach Filling: Sieve the peach jam into a small saucepan. Add the liquids and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer a moment, stirring, then remove the pan. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the finished glaze for the pecan trim, and spread the rest over the torte. Allow the peach filling to set, then top it with the chocolate glaze.
Chocolate Glaze: In the top of a double boiler, over hot water, melt the chocolate and the cream together. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter, whisking till smooth. Allow the glaze to cool until it will spread smoothly over the torte. Use a spatula to smooth it evenly over the top, and coat the sides with a thinner layer.
Decoration: In a small sauce pan, combine the tablespoon of peach glaze and the butter. Melt them together. Add the pecan halves, and stir until they are all coated. Drain the nuts, and allow them to set slightly, then press them around the edge of the torte. The torte serves 12-16 people, as it is very, very rich. It tastes best at room temperature, but will also refrigerate well.