High Altitude Baking: Three-ingredient chocolate torte (recipe)
High Country Baking
Editor’s note: High altitudes make cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
Here’s a holiday gift I bet you won’t return … a recipe for a chocolate torte that’s rich, lush and sophisticated, yet ready for the oven in less time than it takes to sing “Deck the Halls.”
Give it your signature by choosing its accompaniments. The one in the photograph is topped with piped whipped cream and sugared cranberries, but the torte is good with anything you like paired with chocolate cake. Try a white or dark chocolate glaze, a drizzle of caramel, fresh berries and raspberry sauce or a simple shower of confectioners’ sugar, a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of coffee or vanilla ice cream.
Three-ingredient chocolate torte
(Make in an 8-inch springform pan.)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks)
12 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate
4 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center position. Unlock your springform pan, flip the bottom over so its rim is down, and re-lock it into place. (This makes it easier to cut the baked torte.) Grease the pan well with a flour-vegetable oil spray, line the bottom with a parchment paper circle, and grease the circle.
Cut the butter into small pieces, and chop the chocolate to the same size. (A food processor makes fast work of this.) Combine them in a large saucepan, and melt them over very low heat until only a few lumps remain, stirring constantly. (This can also be done in a microwave in a large bowl.) Remove from heat, and continue to stir until smooth and shiny. Set aside and cool until tepid.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs on high speed until they are thick, pale, hold beater marks and form a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. This can take from 4 to 9 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer. Fold the beaten eggs, a little at a time, into the cooled chocolate mixture; you don’t want to deflate the eggs, so fold gently but thoroughly. Pour into the prepared pan, and bake until the top puffs and may develop a few cracks, the edges are set and start to pull away from the pan sides and the center is no longer wet but still jiggles a little when you shake the pan, from 15 to 23 minutes. The torte will be dry if overbaked, so watch carefully.
Remove to a rack, cool completely, run a knife around the pan edges, invert on a serving plate, and remove the pan sides and bottom and the parchment paper. Cover, and refrigerate for at least three hours and up to two days.
When ready to serve, slice it while it’s still cold (dip a thin, sharp knife in hot water and dry it between each cut), let it warm a bit, and add accompaniments. If served cool, it’s dense and fudgy; at room temperature, it’s mousse-like. It’s delicious both ways; the choice is yours.
Vera Dawson, author of the high-altitude cookbook “Cookies in the Clouds” (available at The Bookworm of Edwards) is a chef instructor with CMC’s Culinary Institute. Her recipes have been tested in her Summit County kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.