Tuesday, October 27, 2009
TWD: Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte
This week April from short+rose made an exquisite choice for the group: this delicious brownie torte. Melted and chopped Scharfen Berger chocolate, dried cherries cooked in kirsch and a touch of fresh ground pepper combine forces in the brownie base. If that's not enough, the topping is a delightful whirl of cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, vanilla, and heavy cream. Trust me - it's even more decadent than it sounds.
Having a Trader Joe's nearby was really helpful in acquiring a few of the ingredients at a reasonable price, since I splurged on a good bottle of kirsch. Thanks to Margot at Effort to Deliciousness, that's where I found the dried cherries. While I was there I found mascarpone cheese for $2.99 for 8 ounces, too. This was one pricey endeavor, but I have no regrets.
I enjoyed working on this project over the course of three days, especially since I had a few other cooking projects underway. At one point I had beans soaking on the counter, apple chutney simmering on the stove, and a chicken trussed and ready to be baked as soon as the brownie was done. I figure if I'm in the kitchen, I might as well dirty every pan.
Some of my baking buddies had problems getting the topping to set, but I had the opposite situation. Dorie describes it as pourable mousse, but mine was so thick that it denied Gina, my decorating recruit, the opportunity to make some fancy chevrons. We had a few laughs trying to get the piping bag to cooperate, then attempting to carve in the design with a bamboo skewer. (God, I hope Dorie never reads that...) All I know is if Gina can't do it, it can't be done, so in the end I just smeared the preserves over the top and dusted each serving with some cocoa.
This is a great special occasion dessert, one that would be well received by any hostess. I got it out of the house as soon as possible before it could do too much damage. Needless to say, I had plenty of willing tasters between school and Moore Brothers. Perhaps my greatest compliment came from Rafael, an 11th grade student at Bodine and a professional baker. (yep, you read that right) He picked up a slice on his way to lunch, and halfway through my dreaded 9th period class walked by my door sporting a big thumbs up. Thanks for making my day, Rafi!