This chocolate chestnut torte is in the oven right now, in my brand new springform pan (which I am hoping and praying works the way it’s supposed to). Putting it together was quite an experience. Let’s go step-by-step…
1. Line the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan with wax paper, grease the paper, and dust the pan with flour, knocking out the excess.
Do I let the wax paper go up the sides of the pan, or do I cut it in a circle so that it fits exactly? I call Mom, who says a circle. She thinks.
2. In a food processor purée the chestnuts with the butter and the rum, scraping down the sides, until the mixture is smooth.
Snag A: no food processor. Snag B: cannot open jar of chestnuts. Solution to Snag A was to mush the chestnuts, butter, and rum with a pastry cutter, then use my immersion blender. (Poor misused blender.) Solution to Snag B proved to be running the jar under hot water for a couple minutes (after trying several other tricks, including turning the jar upside-down and hitting the bottom; putting a rubber band around the lid to prevent slippage; and knocking the lid against the countertop). In the end, the mixture wasn’t 100% smooth, but I deemed it good enough.
3. Add the chocolate and blend the mixture until it is combined well.
Easy enough. I had to estimate the amount of chocolate, but as the recipe called for 10 oz. and I had an 11.5 oz. bag, I just used most of it. I melted the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave (1 minute 30 seconds, stirring halfway through). Meanwhile, I separated the eggs – yolks into a handy measuring cup, whites into a large bowl.
4. With the motor running, add the yolks, 1 at a time, and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the whites with the salt until they hold soft peaks, add the sugar, a little at a time, beating, and beat the meringue until it holds stiff peaks.
Again using the immersion blender, I added the chocolate to the chestnut/butter/rum mix, then added in the egg yolks. In the large bowl, I used a handheld electric mixer to beat the salt and egg whites into oblivion (or at least extreme fluffiness). I opted for the hand mixer instead of the stand mixer because its lowest setting (i.e. its slowest speed) is still way too fast for mixing most things, but it’s perfect for beating egg whites into foam. Everything has its purpose! And I learned my lesson after the Meringue Disaster: patience. Patience patience patience. It is very important to beat the egg whites enough. Until they hold stiff peaks! Else destruction will be rained down upon thy house, etc. (Where else should Jonathan Edwards – Mr. Fire-and-Brimstone himself – make an appearance but in the pre-Thanksgiving post?)
5. Whisk about one fourth of the meringue into the chocolate mixture to lighten it and fold in the remaining meringue gently but thoroughly.
The chestnut/butter/rum/chocolate/egg yolk mixture did not seem especially whisk-able, so I folded some of the egg white mixture into it to start, and then (mainly because the egg white mixture was in a bigger bowl), added the chestnut/chocolate mixture to the egg white mixture. Stirred gently to combine.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake the torte in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it and the top is cracked.
Well, I’ve done that first bit…and what do you know, I just checked on it (it’s been in almost 45 minutes now) and the top DOES look cracked. Excellent.
These are done now. (Don’t worry, Marathon Girl!) (Marathon Girl cannot abide dirty dishes.)
What I’m reading: Ada by Vladimir Nabokov
What I’m listening to: The Smiths, Louder Than Bombs and The Smiths; The Beatles, The White Album