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Strawberry-White Chocolate Torte



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Strawberry-White Chocolate Torte


by Nancy Silverton, 1986, Harper & Row


“Although I usually find white chocolate terribly sweet, combining
white chocolate mousse with sliced strawberries and chocolate-
hazelnut torte creates a fresh-tasting, beautifully balanced dessert.
The border of cut strawberries around the bottom of the white mousse
makes the torte a look-alike for the classic French bagatelle, but the
tastes are not at all similar.
Use an 8-inch springform pan or entremet ring. If your electric mixer
bowl is stainless steel, you’ll save using two bowls by cooking the egg
yolks in the mixer bowl.”

Makes one 8-inch cake, serving 8-10

White Chocolate Mousse:

7 ounces white chocolate
1 1/2 cups heavy cream in all
5 egg yolks
5 tablespoons lemon juice (1-2 lemons), in all
Zest of 1-2 lemons, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar syrup *

1 Three-Nut Torte, baked in three 8-inch layers
2 1/2 pints fresh strawberries
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated gelatin
1/2 cup Bitter Chocolate Glaze or
White Chocolate Glaze (recipes follow)

* To make sugar syrup: Whisk together 3 cups water and 2 1/4 cups granulated
sugar in a large saucepan to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and
boil until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is clear, about 30 seconds.
Cool. Keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator.

Making the White Chocolate Mousse
Cut chocolate into 2-inch pieces. In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate over barely simmering water. (Watch carefully – white chocolate burns more
easily than dark chocolate. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.) Turn off heat and let stand over warm water until ready to use.
Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream
on low speed until it thickens enough not to spatter. Increase speed to
medium-high and beat until thick and mousselike. Remove from mixer.
Whisk a few times by hand until soft peaks form. Refrigerate.
Place the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and lemon zest in a
large heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar syrup to boiling.
Beating constantly with a wire whisk, pour the boiling syrup in a steady
stream over the yolks. Place the bowl over gently simmering water and
continue whisking until the mixture is thick and forms a ribbon when the
whisk is lifted, about 15 minutes. Rotate bowl as necessary to prevent
the egg from cooking around the sides, The mixture will approximately
triple in volume and be hot to the touch.
Remove from heat and beat in an electric mixer on medium-high speed
until the mixture has doubled in volume and the underside of the bowl
is cool to the touch.
Beat in the warm melted chocolate and combine well. (Chocolate must
be warm to incorporate smoothly into the egg yolk mixture.) Measure
out 2 cups of whipped cream. Whisk 1 cup of the whipped cream into
the chocolate mixture to lighten texture, then fold in one more cup.
(Refrigerate remaining cream.) Refrigerate mousse at least 3 hours.
Note: The mousse can be made up to seven days in advance of
assembling the torte.

Assembling the torte
With a serrated knife, trim one of the cake layers to 6 inches in diameter
and the other two to 7 inches in diameter. If the layers are thicker than
3/8 inch or uneven, trim horizontally. Trim carefully; the cake is fragile
and tears easily. Center the 6-inch cake layer on the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan or entremets ring. Put the sides on the springform pan.
Stem the strawberries and cut in half lengthwise. Pick out a number of
halves that are more or less equal in size. If necessary, trim the bottoms
so they are similar.
Place a border of strawberries, stem end down, and the cut side touching
the insides of the pan. The strawberries should fit snugly between the cake layer and the sides of the pan.
Place gelatin in the bottom of a large heatproof bowl and pour on remaining
3 tablespoons lemon juice. If all the gelatin granules do not absorb the juice,
or if there are any lumps of gelatin, dribble on a bit more juice or water.
Heat briefly over gently simmering water until the gelatin dissolves. Turn
off heat and keep warm.
Remove whipped cream from refrigerator and whisk a few times to re-
mount, if necessary.
Whisk the mousse into the gelatin until combined. Whisk one third of the remaining whipped cream into the mousse to lighten the texture, then fold
in the rest. Set bowl over ice water and fold continuously until the mixture
has set enough to form soft peaks when a bit is lifted with the spatula.
Remove from ice.
Fill a pastry bag (No. 4 plain tip) half-full of mousse. Pipe blobs of mousse between the strawberries in the pan, completely filling the spaces between them. Pipe a border of mousse to fill in the space between the cake layer
and the strawberries. Then, starting in the center, pipe an even spiral over
the cake layer and out to the sides of the pan.
Place half the remaining strawberries, cut side down, on the mousse,
keeping them about 1/2 inch away from the edge of the pan so that they
won’t show when the torte is unmolded. Place a cake layer on top, press
down lightly to even out the mousse, and pipe on a border and then a
layer of mousse as directed above. Arrange the remaining strawberries
on the mousse, cut side down and 1/2 inch away from the edge of the
pan. Top with the last cake layer and press down lightly. It should be
just below or even with the top of the pan. If it is too high, press down
a bit more, or, if necessary, make it thinner by trimming it horizontally
with a serrated knife. Spread the surface with a thin layer of mousse,
even with the top of the pan. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.

Glazing the torte
In a heatproof bowl, warm the chocolate glaze over barely simmering
water until it is just warm enough to be pourable, but not hot. Hold the
cake flat on the palm of your hand over a baking sheet. Pour or ladle
the warm glaze over the cake, tilting the pan to distribute the glaze in
a thin, even layer over the top only. Pour off excess. Refrigerate until
set, 15-30 minutes.

Unmolding the torte
Unmold by placing hot towels briefly around the pan and then releasing
the sides. Refrigerate until set.

Serve with Strawberry Sauce. Store the finished torte no longer than
24 hours. The cut strawberries will lose their color if stored longer.

Bitter Chocolate Glaze

Makes 2 cups

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons Cognac (or an alcohol of your choice)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
(optional, if your chocolate is not bitter enough)

Cut chocolate into 2-inch pieces. In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate with butter and corn syrup over barely simmering water. (The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl or the chocolate will burn.) Turn off heat
and let mixture stand over warm water until ready to use.
In a small saucepan whisk together the cream, brandy, and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly until the cocoa powder is dissolved. Scrape into the melted chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Use the sauce while it is still warm.
Chocolate glaze will keep for months stored in the refrigerator. To reuse, reheat glaze in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water.

White Chocolate Glaze

Makes enough to glaze the tops of two 8-inch round cakes

6 ounces white chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)

Cut the chocolate into 2-inch pieces. In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate
over barely simmering water. (The water should not touch the bottom of
the bowl or the chocolate will burn.) Turn off the heat and let stand until
ready to use.
In a saucepan, scald the cream. Stir into melted chocolate, along with
the corn syrup and lemon juice, until mixture is blended and smooth.
When a spoonful of the glaze is lifted, it should fall in a steady stream.
Thin with a little cream, if necessary.
Reheat over simmering water to use. If the glaze is too hot, it will be
runny and will be translucent rather than opaque on top of a cake.
Keep refrigerated up to one month.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Strawberry Mousse Cake
White Chocolate Hazelnut Fraisier
White Chocolate Tartlets with Strawberry Coulis

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