Recipes by Chef Coty MacDonald Photos by Gabe Green
I wanted to represent chocolate in a number of different ways as well as highlight some seasonal ingredients in garnish and accompaniments. Bringing in different textures and consistencies, techniques and treatments of chocolate to highlight its versatility and create a dish with a dynamic personality. The variance of texture and temperature and seasonality is crucially important to me in a plated dessert.
For the Torte:10 ounces dark chocolate (60-70%), coarsely chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
7 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
To make the torte: Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch square silicone cake pans. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Butter the parchment.
Place chocolate in a heat-safe bowl over a double boiler until the chocolate melts when stirred. Set aside to cool.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing until each yolk is fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the cooled chocolate to butter and sugar mixture until combined. Mix in vanilla.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold about 1 cup of the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture. Add remaining egg whites and continue folding gently just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top evenly.
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the top of the cake is set. Do not over bake.
Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely. Once it has cooled, use a thin knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Then, remove the sides of the pan.
Invert the cake onto wire rack and peel off the parchment paper. Use another rack or a plate to flip the cake upright.
Chocolate Mousse (middle layer):
15 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate
3 cups heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, softened in 4 tablespoons cool water
For the middle layer: Chop the chocolate and place it in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl. Bring 1 cup of the cream to a boil and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir the chocolate and cream mixture gently, until smooth; if the chocolate doesn’t melt completely, heat it briefly over your double boiler, and continue to stir until melted.
While the chocolate is melting, bloom the gelatin in a small dish with the cool water. Once it has softened, heat it in 5 second intervals in the microwave, stirring to dissolve. When the gelatin mixture is completely free of lumps, stir it into the melted chocolate. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whip the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream, being very careful not to over whip it. It should just hold a soft peak.
Check the chocolate mixture. It must be free of lumps and the temperature should be about 80 degreesº – warm enough to keep the chocolate from setting up, but not so hot the whipped cream melts when it’s whisked in. Add about half of the whipped cream to the chocolate and whisk and fold as you did while making the cake. Fold in the remaining whipped cream once the first half is folded in. When the chocolate and cream are evenly blended, pour the mousse over the top of the cooled cake. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Return the cake to the refrigerator and allow to fully set (about an hour).
After Mousse has set, top with tempered chocolate.
Garnish with chocolate meringues
5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
The first step is to melt the dark chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over simmering water, to about 125º.
Remove from heat and let it cool to the low 80ºs. Drop a good-sized chunk of solid tempered chocolate in, while cooling, stirring frequently. Motion equals good tempering.
Hold your chocolate between 88° and 91°. This is the “tempering zone” for most dark chocolate
Don’t let it get above 91° or you’ll have to begin the process all over again. If it cools too much, rewarm it gently to bring it back up.
3 egg whites
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
Whip the egg whites until they begin to hold soft peaks.
Continue whisking and slowly add the cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
Once fully incorporated transfer mixture to a piping bag.
Pipe into flat sheets, or drops whichever you prefer on strips of parchment and place in food dehydrator at 150° for 12 hours.
Cut the layered and fully set torte into portions of roughly 3” by 1”.
Place on plate with a few pieces of meringue
Garnish with a pomegranate sauce and pomegranate seeds, chocolate ice cream and edible flowers such as pansies.
Chocolate Ice Cream
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream ½ teaspoon Xanthan gum
2 cups (500ml) whole milk 4 ounces chopped chocolate
1 cup (250g) sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla
9 egg yolks 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream, cocoa and half the sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining half cup of sugar.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and drizzle a small amount into the yolks, slowly, and whisking constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Do this a few more times to warm up the yolks before pouring the yolk mixture back into the cream, whisking constantly.
Cook over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the chopped chocolate until melted. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl placed over a bowl of ice. Once cooled pour ice cream base into blender, blend on medium and add xanthan gum. Let sit refrigerated overnight and freeze according to ice cream maker’s directions.
ABOUT THE CHEF
Coty MacDonald is the executive chef at Ocean Crest. He was trained in New Orleans and attended Culinary School in Chicago and Le Cordon Bleu in Portland where he also worked at familiar restaurants such as Aquariva at the Avalon Hotel, El Gaucho at the Benson Hotel and as executive Chef at the Shilo Inn at Ocean Shores.