This week, Driscoll’s is sponsoring a contest with the Culinary Content Network called “Raspberries for Dessert.” In case you live under a rock or simply somewhere that doesn’t get Driscoll’s berries, they supply markets with the most plump and sweet berries. But for the sake of the contest, let’s just focus on raspberries.
My earliest memories of raspberries are not actually of raspberries but of raspberry-shaped candies that my grandmother always had on her nightstand (in case she got a dry throat). They were called pastillines and came in a round tin. I’m not sure where this obsession with dry throats came from, I mean she didn’t have a cough, or smoke or anything, but who cared? They were delicious. And so a love for raspberry flavor was born or at least, raspberries with sugar.
Now as I have mentioned before, I had a Russian grandmother and a German grandmother. The one I am talking about is the German one. So when I heard of the contest, I immediately started googling german cakes. I was most inspired by a Flourless Chocolate Almond Torte. After all, raspberries scream for chocolate, at least to me anyway but who needs another recipe for flourless chocolate cake. Come on. We can do better than that.
Well, in culinary school I learned that European cakes are usually made with layers that are each brushed with a syrup of water and sugar and in many cases also alcohol. Ok now we are talking. So I added some Amaretto to my syrup and made a white chocolate whipped cream. Good whipped cream is made with vanilla and sugar and if you add a bit of gelatin, it is more stable. I figured it is just easier, tastier and vegetarian friendly if I just add some melted white chocolate to the cream. I thought it was brilliant but you be the judge.
[i]Adapted from Hungarian Flourless Hazelnut Cake
Inspired by Bon Appetit’s May 2002 Chocolate Almond Torte[/i]
21/2 cups almond meal/flour (or 8 1/2 ounces of almonds ground finely into a meal)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 eggs, separated
1 cups sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon table salt or cream of tartar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Amaretto
2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
2 6-ounce packages Driscoll’s raspberries
- Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Grease and line with parchment paper a 9-inch springform pan.
- Add chocolate and 1/3 cup sugar to processor. Pulse until chocolate is finely ground but not beginning to clump, about 45 seconds.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the chocolate mixture, almond flour and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large bowl electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat on medium high speed the egg yolks and remaining 2/3 cup sugar until the batter falls in a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add the melted butter and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and add in the almond mixture in three parts. Mix each of the three additions until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the bowl after each addition. The mixture will seem very dry but do not panic.
- In a CLEAN medium bowl, with CLEAN whisks, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer on a low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the 3/4 teaspoon table salt or cream of tartar and whip until firm peaks form. Tip: Click forEgg Whites 101.
- Quickly stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the hazelnut mixture, then quickly fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Tip: View a video on How to Fold an Ingredient into your Batter.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and level the batter with a spatula.
- Place the pan on the center rack and bake for 60-70 minutes or until it is well risen and the cake has come away from the sides or the pan. If you press the cake lightly with your finger, it should spring back.
- Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the outer ring. Tip: If the outer ring is sticking, run a paring knife between the pan and the cake.
- Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Tip: Make sure all the sugar is completely dissolved, including any on the side of the saucepan. Use a pastry brush or rubber spatula to scrape it off the sides of the pot.
- Allow the mixture to cool and then add the liquor. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Melt the chocolate with either a microwave or double boiler. Set aside to cool. Tip: Only cool until lukewarm. If the mixture gets too cool, the chocolate will solidify. If this happens, do not panic. Just reheat it until it is liquid again.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream until slightly thickened. Mix in the chocolate.
- Continue whipping the mixture until soft peaks form.
- When cake is cool, slice it horizontally in half.
- Place the bottom layer on your cake plate and brush it with the Amaretto Syrup.
- Fill a piping bag or ziploc bag with the 1/2 of the whipped cream using a 1/4-inch tip or cutting a 1/4-inch hole in the bag. Cover the layer with whipped cream stopping about 1/4-inch from the edge. [i]Tip: View a video on
- Cover the whipped cream with raspberries gently pressing them down.
- Place the other half of cake on top and press down gently.
- Brush the top layer with the the Amaretto Syrup.
- Cover the top with the remaining whipped cream either using a pastry bag or icing spatula. Smooth the whipped cream with an icing spatula,
- Cover the top with the remaining raspberries.
- Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
- Before serving, sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top for decoration.
- Cut the cake into squares, rectangles, or diamonds for pretty little pastries. You can even try making the cake in a square pan if you are going this route. However, make sure you line the pan with parchment paper as this cake trends to stick.
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