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Flourless Chocolate Torte

Flourless Chocolate Torte
For best results when beating egg whites, start with a spotlessly clean bowl and beater. Any grease or fat, including egg yolk, will prevent the whites from expanding to their full volume. Do not overbeat or they will become clumpy and grainy, and the torte won't rise as successfully. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter to prevent them from deflating.

Ingredients:

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
  • 15 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 18 Tbs. (2 1⁄4 sticks) unsalted butter,
     cut into small pieces
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 9 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 Tbs. dark rum or brewed espresso (optional)
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3 cups raspberries
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 300ºF. Grease a heart cake pan and dust with cocoa powder.

In the top pan of a double boiler, combine the chocolate and butter. Set the top pan over but not touching barely simmering water in the bottom pan and melt, then whisk until well blended. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the egg yolks, 6 Tbs. of the granulated sugar, the dark rum, vanilla and salt on medium-high speed until pale and very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually pour in the chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended.

In a deep, clean bowl, using a mixer fitted with a clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 3 Tbs. granulated sugar and continue to beat until medium-firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Scoop half of the egg whites onto the chocolate mixture and fold them in gently. Fold in the remaining whites just until no streaks remain.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Bake until the torte puffs slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out very moist but not liquid, about 40 minutes. Do not overcook. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

To remove the pan sides, set the pan on a can and let the sides slide down. Let the torte cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Just before serving, garnish the torte with the raspberries and dust with confectioners' sugar.
Serves 12 to 14.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Dessert, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Simon & Schuster, 2002).