Friday, November 05, 2004

Schwarzwalder Torte

Meringue, Chocolate and Kirsch Cream Layer Cake

A dear old friend from high school kindly gave me her luscious version of sans rival with a rich buttercream frosting, but it was a different story trying to perfect it.
It was frustrating for a novice like me, working with the tricky layers and a buttercream made by whipping hot sugar syrup into egg yolks. Last year Gourmet's Dec. issue featured this nut torte which on the first try won rave reviews from my favorite critics; a version of sans rival, 4 layers of nut meringue but with a slim coating of bittersweet chocolate and a pillowy kirsch cream frosting.
I thought I needed a hit of chocolate after the harrowing turn of events on Tuesday.

Vegetable oil for greasing
3 tbsp. all purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 large egg whites
3 oz. cashew nuts, toasted in 350F oven for 8 minutes till golden (orig. recipe calls for almonds or hazelnuts),finely ground in food processor, about 3/4 cup
5&1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped(Trader Joe's Belgian Bittersweet)
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 &1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
3 tbsp extrafine granulated sugar
1 tbsp Kirschwasser (Hiram Walker) or cognac

"kasuy" cashew nuts for a Pinoy taste

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425F.
Oil 2 large baking sheets and dust with flour, knocking off excess. Trace 2 8-in rounds on each baking sheet with a fingertip using an inverted plate as a guide (I used my souffle dish).

Whisk together flour and sugar in a small bowl.
Beat egg whites and a pinch of salt in a bowl using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they just hold stiff peaks. Fold in flour/sugar mixture gently but thoroughly, then fold in cashews.

Divide meringue among circles, spreading to fill in circles thinly and evenly.

Bake meringues in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes total (meringue will be soft). Loosen meringue with a large metal spatula and transfer to racks to cool. as I say and not as I do, pls. The wax paper was a huge mistake, as it got stuck and I had to spend a maddening 20 minutes peeling away.

While meringues cool, heat chocolate, water and coffee in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring until smooth. Cool to lukewarm, then spread chocolate evenly over tops of meringue rounds. Cool at room temp. until chocolate is set, about 3 hours.

Beat cream with confectioners sugar and kirsch in a bowl with cleaned beaters until it holds stiff peaks. Arrange 1 meringue round, chocolate side up, on a cake stand or plate, then spread 1/3 cup whipped cream over it. Top with a second round and spread with 1/3 cup whipped cream.

Repeat, then top with remaining meringue round.

Frost top and side of torte with remaining whipped cream.
Garnish with shavings of even more chocolate...

small consolation