Rich Dense Chocolate Pecan Torte
Caramel pecan crust gives the torte a little crunch; two chocolates add complexity to the silky dense filling. Elizabeth Terry serves her torte covered with chocolate whipped cream and accented with crème anglais and berry puree.
- Caramel Pecan Crust
- Pecan Pieces - 1 cup (31⁄2 ounces)
- Light Brown Sugar - 1⁄3 cup, firmly packed
- Nutmeg - 1⁄4 teaspoon, grated
- All-Purpose Flour - 2 tablespoons
- Butter - 2 tablespoons, chilled and cut into pieces
- Sweet Chocolate - 6 ounces
- Bitter Chocolate - 2 ounces
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Heavy Cream - 1 scant cup
- Chocolate Whipped Cream
- Heavy Cream - 1-3⁄4 cups
- Sugar - 1⁄4 cup
- Cocoa - 3 tablespoons
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Berry Puree
- Strawberries and Raspberries - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1 to 1-1⁄2 tablespoons
- Triple Sec - 1 teaspoon
- Lemon Juice - 1 tablespoon
- English Cream
- Egg Yolks - 3
- Sugar - 6 tablespoons
- Cornstarch - 1 tablespoon
- Milk - 1 cup
- Vanilla Extract - 1⁄2 teaspoon
- Heavy Cream - 2 tablespoons
- Triple Sec - 1 tablespoon
- Fresh strawberries
- Fresh mint leaves
To make the pecan crust: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor combine the nuts, brown sugar, nutmeg, flour, and butter. Process until the nuts are crushed and the butter is entirely incorporated. Spread the crumbs on top of the paper in the springform pan, press gently, and bake 8 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and let cool.
To make the filling: Place the chocolates in the top of a double boiler over hot water. Stir the chocolates until melted. Whisk in the egg yolks. Remove the pan from the heat. In a small saucepan heat the cream over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Immediately whisk the cream into the melted chocolate. When thoroughly combined, the mixture will be smooth, with a rich dark brown color. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and remove the sides. The torte should remain at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
To make the chocolate whipped cream: Place the whipping cream in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a well-chilled balloon whip. Whip on low speed until the cream is frothy. In a steady stream add the sugar and cocoa and whip, gradually increasing the mixer’s speed until the cream begins to form peaks. Add the vanilla and whip until soft peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a metal tube.
To make the berry puree: In the bowl of a food processor combine the strawberries and raspberries, sugar, triple sec, and lemon juice. Blend until liquid, and refrigerate until needed.
To make the English cream: In a large heatproof bowl whisk together the yolks and sugar (the mixture will be very stiff). Add the milk and cornstarch, whisking until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, place over medium-low heat, and bring just to a boil. Simmer, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes until very thick. Transfer the hot pastry cream to a clean heatproof bowl and add the vanilla, cream, and triple sec. Cover the surface with buttered waxed paper. Chill the pastry cream at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Whisk the pastry cream before using.
To assemble: Pipe the whipped cream over the torte, completely covering the torte. Cut into individual slices and place on dessert plates. Spoon 1⁄3 cup of berry puree and 1⁄4 cup of English cream onto each plate. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries and fresh mint.