Thursday, 11 July 2013

Prune & Chocolate Torte

When a dessert contains, prunes, chocolate and pecan nuts, it's already a winner in my book, add a smidgen of bourbon to the mix and it becomes a certainty. I came up with this idea when I was making my Bakewell Tart click here for the recipe, almonds need not be the only nut that would work and trying to match ingredients that would work with pecans I created this, an altogether more grown up cake.

for this recipe you will need:
250g of either pate brisee or a sweet shortcrust pastry
240g of unsalted butter
240g of caster sugar
200g of ready to eat prunes chopped
3 medium eggs
150g of pecan nuts
150g or dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
60g of self raising flour
50ml of bourbon optional otherwise 50ml of espresso
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt

Begin by lining a 25centimeter fluted tin (removable base makes life easier) with the thinly rolled out pastry, blind bake for 15 minutes at 200C then reduce the temperature and remove the parchment and baking beans and continue to bake for a further 20 minutes at 140C until the base looks nicely dried out and has taken on a little colour. I take this opportunity to toast the pecan nuts by placing them in the 140C oven on a baking tray and toasting them for 15 to 20 minutes.
Prepare the filling by grinding up the pecan nuts in a food processor being careful not to continue doing this any longer than it takes to produce a fine breadcrumb state, pecan nuts can turn into something resembling peanut butter is processed for too long. Remove from the processor bowl and do the same to the chocolate, it helps it you add the flour and the baking powder at this stage. Again you just want a fine breadcrumb texture. Tip out of the bowl to join the pecan nuts. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl and process until light and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time and finally the bourbon if using or the espresso. Add the ground pecans and the chocolate & flour mixture and process just long enough to make a cohesive mix. Tip half out into the cooked pastry shell, cover with the chopped prunes and finally spread over the remaining mix. If ever a spoon or spatula of the cake mix tasted good, believe me this does! place in the oven at 180C for 30 to 35 minutes. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.

This cake can be made entirely gluten free if you substitute potato flour for the self raising flour and increase the baking powder to 1 teaspoon, omit the bourbon and use only espresso and of course only do all of this if you are happy with a sweet pastry recipe which at this point in time I can't claim to be, but I'm working on it.
This is a great cake to serve with coffee, but equally it makes a very acceptable dessert, served with a big dollop of creme fraiche.

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