About a year ago, my beloved wife decided she was going to radically change her diet. She has some health challenges and one day decided she was going to stop eating any refined sugars and basically all refined carbs. No pasta, no white flour, no rice. I’m so proud of her for the determination and grit that she has shown, but it’s a bit of a challenge for me to cook without all of my favorite ingredients! This torte is one of the success stories from me taking that challenge. The recipe that I adapted comes from Deb Perelman’s wonderful The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
Note: If you are totally sugar free, you’ll want to use unsweetened chocolate and probably increase the stevia (or sucralose or whatever) by another tablespoon or two. Also, I have substituted agave for the honey with fine results.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Allow the butter to spit a little bit until small brown flecks start appearing at the bottom of the pan. The butter will be aromatic and smell like nuts. Once your butter browns, take it off the pan and stir in the chopped chocolate. Stir or whisk until it is well mixed and allow it to cool.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and/or line a 6″ springform or round pan and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and sweeteners until it’s smooth and consistent. Add in the cooled chocolate mixture (make sure to scrape the brown butter bits off the bottom of the pan) and keep beating until it becomes a rich brown color and all ingredients have been well incorporated. Add the vanilla and salt and mix some more.
In a larger bowl (or your stand mixer bowl) beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. Then gently fold in the remaining 2/3 using as few strokes as possible.
Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the cake puffs up (it will deflate shortly). Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes, then release the cake and allow to fully cool on a plate or a wire rack.
A bonus recipe that is probably my second most requested recipe. Make this Peanut Butter Cheesecake today. Seriously.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Set a large tea kettle of water to boil.
Use a 9-inch springform pan. Tear off a rectangular piece of 18-inch aluminum foil, and wrap it underneath the springform bottom and fold up along sides of pan, creating a water-tight barrier. It’s a good idea to use a second piece of foil to ensure water tightness.
Inside the pan, brush bottom and sides with melted butter. Drop in crumbs, and tilt the pan around to coat bottom and sides with crumbs evenly. Press crumbs into place.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar cheese and beat about 3 minutes on low speed. Add peanut butter and beat until combined.
Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla extract, mix. Add heavy cream, mix. Add a pinch of salt. After ensuring all ingredients are mixed evenly and thoroughly, pour mixture into the prepared pan.
Place springform pan into a roasting pan.
Place roasting pan on middle rack in oven, securely, and pour enough boiling water to go half way up side of springform.
Bake for 55-60 minutes. Doing the jiggle test: gently shaking the springform pan, the outside of cake will appear firm but the center will jiggle like Jell-O, and the top will not look browned, thus giving the appearance that it is underdone. But this is what you want because the hot cheesecake will continue to cook.
Turn off oven. Use a wooden spoon to open keep the oven door ajar a couple inches in order to cool. Leave cheesecake in oven for an hour.
Remove springform pan from roasting pan, place on rack on counter to cool to room temperature for 2-4 hours.
Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Optionally, drizzle melted chocolate over the top.
No, No No. I was JUST KIDDING, HONEY! Remember you said they were awesome. My son and I were debating about what to make for dessert and so I started listing all the things we had in the pantry to work with. We had coconut, white and bittersweet chocolate, and coconut milk. He won’t eat coconut, but he thought it was a good idea to make truffles. I should listen to that kid more often.
Macadamia Coconut Truffles
Break up the white chocolate into small pieces and put into a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Zap it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring until melted. Add coconut, sugar, and coconut milk, stir until combined, Put coconut mixture into the freezer for around 30 minutes.
Break up the chocolate and melt in the microwave, once again for 30 seconds at a time. Once it’s completely melted, let cool for 5 minutes or so (who has time to temper the chocolate?). Take the coconut mixture out of the freezer and use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to form the insides of the truffles. Drop them one by one into the melted chocolate and roll them around until completely covered on all sides. Put the truffles onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If you’re going to use the macadamia nuts, sprinkle them over the tops.
Let truffles cool for at least 30 minutes (try your best) and the chocolate hardens and turns shiny. Enjoy them!!
I love a good custard. Creme Brulee is another one of those “must order” compulsions that I’ve mentioned before. This is a simplified take on the classic French Pots de Creme that I got from a Cooks Illustrated magazine. Judging from her reaction, this is a new favorite of Kitty’s.
I found this gorgeous image of someone else’s recipe for this, which is way more appealing than I could come up with. Her recipe is the classic preparation of the dish where you bake the custard and so on. I really don’t think the extra steps are justified…but you be the judge.
Chocolate Pots de Creme
Put chocolate pieces in a large heat proof bowl. Put a fine mesh strainer over it. Set aside.
Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, salt, cream and half and half in a large sauce pan until combined. Put over medium low heat and stir constantly – this is critical. If you let the pan get too hot or don’t stir it enough, the eggs will scramble and you will not be happy.
This is an exercise in patience as it will seem like nothing is happening for a good 8 or 9 minutes while you endlessly stir it. You will be rewarded all of a sudden when it starts to thicken. If you have an instant read thermometer, you’re shooting for between 175 and 180 degrees. The consistency should be a little thick, enough to thinly coat a spoon and leave a clear line if you run your finger through it. You also don’t want to overcook this (it will curdle), so take it off the heat as soon as you feel good about the consistency.
Pour the custard through the strainer, over the chocolate and let sit for about 5 minutes. Gently whisk together the custard and chocolate until combined, then add the vanilla. Pour into 8 ramekins or cups, then allow to cool to room temperature. Chill completely, about 4 hours. Serve with fresh whipped cream – don’t forget: cool whip blows.