Friday, December 10, 2010
The Black Beast - a perfect holiday dessert
I got this recipe for a flourless chocolate cake from my mother years ago. It's called La Bete Noir, which translates as The Black Beast. The phrase is used in French to refer to something generally avoided or disliked.Yes, we should generally avoid this dessert. Dislike it? Impossible.
La Bete Noir
makes 16 servings
for the cake:
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
9 Tablespoons unsalted butter
18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I use good chocolate chips)
6 large eggs
for the ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 or 10 inch diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper cut round to fit. Butter the parchment paper. Wrap three layers of heavy duty aluminum foil around the outside of the pan, bringing foil to top of rim.
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate mixture. Cool slightly. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well-blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan and add enough water to roasting pan to come half way up the side of the cake pan.
Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken---about 50 minutes. Remove from water pan. Transfer cake pan to cooling rack. Cool completely in pan.
Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over cake (still in pan). Gently shaketo evenly distribute ganache over top of cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set ganache. Cover and refrigerate until served. Cut into wedges to serve. To get a clean cut, rinse large knife under hot water after each cut.
At Christmas time, I like to serve it with peppermint whipped cream.
Whip heavy cream until almost ready. Add some powdered sugar. Finish whipping. Fold in crushed candy cane. If you let it sit a while in the fridge, the candy cane dissolves. Stir it up before serving. Put whipped cream in a ziplock bag. Cut off one corner. Squeeze out in dollops onto cake slices. Sprinkle extra crushed candy cane over top.
The rest of the year, it's fabulous with raspberry sauce.
Thaw 2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen raspberries. Squeeze out syrup through fine strainer or cheesecloth. Add enough water to make 1 ½ cups. Heat on stove. Mix ¼ cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in small bowl. Add to syrup. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ tsp. almond extract (real or imitation).