October 11, 2009

Drak Chocolate Torte with Prunes and Walnuts

There are all kinds of interesting tid-bits about this recipe...it was inspired by a Bon Appetite recipe from 1992, for instance. It's also a Jewish (thus kosher) and a gluten-free cake. I made it to take to a lunch that ended up being canceled due to Swine Flu, but it was eaten heartily over the weekend no less by various visitors and on the terrace for lunch. It's a lovely cake - dense and moist, but not particularly sweet - the rich flavors complement the fall weather well. The prunes and nuts add a lovely combination of crunchy, juicy textures to the velvety cake bit. Admittedly, it's not our favorite cake and it takes quite a while to make. However, it is certainly sophisticated and would be excellent served with a fine red wine or at a tea party.

Serves 12.
Should be made a day ahead. Can be made 3 days ahead...cover loosely with foil and keep refrigerated.

The Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups prunes, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup prune juice (I used apple juice...no prune juice in sight around here)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (I used 74%), chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 8 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350F degrees. Position oven rack on the middle shelf.
  2. Butter a 9-inch spring-form pan. Dust with cocoa powder, tap out excess, and set aside.
  3. Place prunes and juice in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In a heavy sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and add the cocoa powder - whisk until smooth. Mix in walnuts and prune mixture.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, yolks, sugar, and salt until foaming. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until well blended.
  6. Transfer to prepared spring-form pan. Set spring-form into a larger baking dish/pan and fill with enough hot water to reach the mid-point of the spring-form. Set in the oven and bake until inserted knife comes out mostly clean, about an hour. If your oven is tiny, gently cover with foil so the top doesn't burn.
  7. When baked, allow to cool 30 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan and refrigerate overnight.
The Glaze
  • 1 cup prune juice (again, I used apple juice)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 24 walnut halves
  1. In a sauce pan, bring the juice and butter to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  2. Cool, stirring occasionally, until thick, but pourable.
  3. Dip walnut halfway into the glaze and set on foiled surface (like a baking sheet or cutting board). Refrigerate to set.
  4. Pour glaze over cake, covering completely. Refrigerate until set - about 3 hours.

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