When I saw the chocolate-raspberry torte in the latest Cook's Illustrated, I immediately KNEW I had to try it. After a bit of a disaster, I met with more success yesterday. :o)
For those who requested it, here's the recipe, courtesy of Cook's Illustrated:
|Cake and Filling|
|8||ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)|
|12||tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces|
|2||teaspoons vanilla extract|
|1/4||teaspoon instant espresso powder|
|1 3/4||cups (about 7 ounces) sliced almonds , lightly toasted|
|1/4||cup unbleached all-purpose flour (1 1/4 ounces)|
|1/2||teaspoon table salt|
|3/4||cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar|
|1/2||cup fresh raspberries , plus 16 individual berries for garnishing cake|
|1/4||cup seedless raspberry jam|
|Chocolate Ganache Glaze|
|5||ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)|
|1/2||cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream|
- FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line bottom of two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans with parchment paper. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Stir in vanilla and espresso powder.
- Process 3/4 cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, six to eight 1-second pulses; set aside to garnish cake. Process remaining cup almonds until very finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add flour and salt and continue to process until combined, about 15 seconds. Transfer almond-flour mixture to medium bowl. Process eggs in now-empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Using whisk, gently fold egg mixture into chocolate mixture until some streaks of egg remain. Sprinkle half almond-flour mixture over chocolate-egg mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Sprinkle in remaining almond-flour mixture and gently whisk until just combined.
- Divide batter between cake pans and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until center is firm and toothpick inserted into center comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool completely in pan, about 30 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto cardboard rounds cut same size as diameter of cake and remove parchment paper. Using wire rack, reinvert 1 cake so top side faces up; slide back onto cardboard round.
- TO ASSEMBLE TORTE: Place ½ cup raspberries in medium bowl and coarsely mash with fork. Stir in raspberry jam until just combined. Spread raspberry mixture onto cake layer that is top side up. Top with second cake layer, leaving it bottom side up. Transfer assembled cake, still on cardboard round, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
- FOR THE GLAZE: Melt chocolate and cream in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and gently whisk until very smooth. Pour glaze onto center of assembled cake. Use offset spatula to spread glaze evenly over top of cake, letting it flow down sides. Spread glaze along sides of cake to coat evenly.
- Using fine-mesh strainer, sift reserved almonds to remove any fine bits. Holding bottom of cake on cardboard round with 1 hand, gently press sifted almonds onto cake sides with other hand. Arrange raspberries around circumference. Refrigerate cake, still on rack, until glaze is set, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Transfer cake to serving platter, slice, and serve.
The Goodwill closet, that is. I don't know why but it seems like there is a hierarchy of thrifting, funky thrift stores are on top, followed by yard sales and ebay and then Goodwill and the Salvation Army are on the bottom. Goodwill has an undeserved bad reputation, the prices are amazing and there are really great finds to be had there. I really love Goodwill - both to donate and to shop. In the last 10 years I've found some of my very favorite clothing pieces there - a fleece vest that I wear all the time in the fall and winter springs to mind and I paid $.75 for it a decade or so ago. I never know what I'm going to find (if anything) and it is sort of like searching for a needle in a haystack. Add my soon to be 3 year old son into the excursion and you've got quite an experience on your hands. We probably pop in every 6 months or so when I take a couple bags of things to donate and today was our day.
I like to layer in the cooler months. Undershirt/tank, then long sleeved shirt, then a pullover/sweater on top of those. I found four great sweaters today for me. All in really great shape and all were $4. The lambswool cardigan from Old Navy is so soft and looks brand new and the gray collared pull over from Banana Republic also looks brand new. I'm excited! I'm still in transition back down from my last pregnancy - I've got about 10 lbs. to go - so I need a couple pairs of pants to see me through the next month or so as the weight finally finishes coming off. I found two paris of jeans that are comfy and flattering for $5 a pair. And last I found Bob a Pendleton 100% wool cable knit pull over sweater that I think will be great for weekend wear this winter. A trip to the dry cleaner for it will put its price around $9.
If you haven't shopped at your local Good Will, I urge you to try it out. Lots of great gently used kids books, novels, and clothing can be found.
I am terrible at it. I go to the store, throw whatever looks good into the cart and pay. I rarely use coupons, I rarely shop sales. I can be brand loyal even when it is silly. So, I'm giving this a whirl. We eat a lot of fresh food, we generally eat organic so we'll see what I can do. Just starting to meal plan with the sale ads in hand should make at least a small difference. We'll see.