Sunday, October 14, 2007

Torta Setteveli

"Seven Veils Cake" This cake consists of six different components, and nine layers, so the initial mystery is why it’s called seven veil cake, but it turns out that that’s not critical to assembly or enjoyment. The inspiration to make this was sparked by Ms. Adventures in Italy, a site I linked to just last week. Turns out we both have October birthdays, and that was basically enough.

Oh that and the picture there is just sublime. I will clearly be researching this next week when I am in Florence. But in the meantime, this is the way it turned out this weekend.

It was fabulous, and I am writing it here the way I made it, but lots of refinements are in order. The chocolate disks and chocolate cereal praline came out too hard, maybe some corn syrup is needed to make them soft even when they're cold. And frankly I think it could use another layer of chocolate sponge cake. More to come . . . .

The assembly – starting at the bottom

Chocolate sponge cake
Chocolate cereal praline
Hazelnut Bavarian cream
Chocolate disk
Hazelnut Bavarian cream
Chocolate disk
Chocolate mousse
Chocolate ganache, poured as a glaze

Oooh la la.

Chocolate disks and cereal praline – Cut 3 pieces of waxed or parchment paper and trace a 9” circle on each. Take 13 oz. (380 g.) of bittersweet chocolate – chips or pieces are ok, or chop some blocks – melt over low heat with 4 oz. butter. I used Guittard bittersweet pieces for this – bigger than chips but not by much. Heat gently until just melted – it should be just soft and have some body – not super liquid.

Spread approx ¼ to 1/3 of the mixture onto the paper to fill the disk you’ve traced out. Repeat to make a second disk. Stir 1 cup rice crispies cereal into the remaining chocolate and spread to form a third disk.
Then make a Chocolate Sponge Cake – use a 10” springform pan, lined with parchment or waxed paper - I used a 9" pan for a planned 9" finished product and found that sponge cake shrinks. Kind of a lot. I would just use a chocolate genoise and maybe bake it in a jelly roll pan and then cut out one or two rounds. But these are the ingredients I used. Technique is too long to include here.

3 eggs, separated
¼ c plus 1T sugar
1/8 t. cream of tartar
¼ cup cake flour
3 T cocoa
Pinch salt

Chocolate Mousse - from the Joy of Cooking – 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten; 4 oz. semi sweet chocolate, 2 T rum, ¼ cup sugar, 1 cup whipping cream, whipped. Make a syrup of the sugar and the rum. Melt chocolate with 3 T of the heavy cream. Stir in the syrup and let cool. Fold in beaten egg whites and whipped cream. This is the whipped cream going in - egg whites are already mixed in. Let chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Hazelnut Bavarian Cream – 3 egg yolks, 1 envelope gelatin, pinch salt, ¼ cup sugar, 3 oz. hazelnut praline paste, 1 cup milk, 3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped. The technique for a Bavarian Cream is basically to mix the yolks, sugar, salt and gelatin. Scald the milk, and add the hazelnut praline paste to the hot milk, then cook the ingredients together as for a custard. Strain if necessary. Let cool in the fridge 1 to 2 hours, stirring occassionally, then add the whipped cream, which is what is shown in the picture.

Chocolate glaze – 4 oz. chocolate, ½ cup whipping cream, 1T butter – melt together over low heat – stir into pourable glaze. Don't have it too hot when you pour it on the torte.

Assemble by stacking the layers in a springform pan. Hold out 1 cup of the chocolate mousse and don't put the glaze on yet. Chill at least 3 hours.

Take off the spring form side, then ice the side of the torte with the remaining mousse. Then pour the glaze on. The chilled dessert will arrest the glaze so it doesn't run all over. You may need to work the glaze over the top and encourage it down the sides just a bit with an offset spatula.

Yeah, it was good.