Friday, November 18, 2005

Two Menus, Two Recipes

Pumpkin Chocolate Layered Mousse Torte

Lots of cooking and eating this week, as I prepare the spread for Dad's birthday party and the Thanksgiving dinner. Here's what's happening ...and two of the recipes in case your chocolate needs are not being met adequately. Because I'm here for ya, baby.

Dad’s Birthday Party

Mushroom Almond Paté with crackers
Cheddar, Red Pepper, Horseradish spread
Gouda platter
Baked Brie en Croute with brandied cranberries
Warm Crab Ramekin
Sesame Eggplant Salsa with Pita Crisps
Kentucky Truffles
Veggie Trays
Curried Yogurt Dip
French Onion Dip

Citrus Ginger Ale Punch

Thanksgiving Dinner

Sage Roasted Turkey with Onion Sage Gravy
Cranberry Kumquat Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Hash
Creamed Onions
Brussels Sprouts
Pumpkin Chocolate Layered Mousse Torte


Peanut butter filling:

1 1/2 lb powdered sugar (almost 6 cups)
1/2 lb room temp butter or margarine (2 sticks)
1 lb creamy peanut butter (2 cups)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Combine in a large bowl. Mix well. Form the dough into small balls, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Put the balls in a bowl, and chill in the fridge about an hour. Or chill the dough first, and then roll into balls. Or just grab a spoon...nah. They're better with the...

Chocolate coating:

In a heavy bottomed saucepan or double boiler, combine 12 oz chocolate chips (regular bag) with 1/2 slab of paraffin wax (found in the canning or baking section of most grocers) cut into small pieces. Heat over lowest heat, stirring every minute or so. In the meantime, have a bunch of cookie sheets and toothpicks or bamboo skewers ready. When the chips and wax have melted together, turn off the heat, and remove a handful of peanut butter balls from the fridge. Don't grab the whole bowl; you'll need reheat the chocolate at some point anyway.

Poke a toothpick or skewer in a ball far enough to hold it. Dip the ball in the chocolate, and swirl to coat it about 3/4 of the way up. So it looks, you know, like a buckeye. Place the dipped buckeye on a cookie sheet and move on. There are gazillions to do. If the chocolate gets too cool, warm gently over low heat. The buckeyes should be chilled after dipping; in Minnesota, that's easy - we put them on the porch, and keep an eye out for squirrels. Or slide them in the garage. In warmer climates, do as many batches as will fit in the freezer, freeze them solid (about 20 minutes) and remove to ziplock bags or cookie tins, and return to fridge or freezer to keep. Repeat until you're done. When removing the skewer, some people like to smooth over the hole, frankly I think it's a waste of time. Invite friends, and eat till you're sick.

This recipe originally appeared in the Penzey's Catalog. I think. Either that or I have a mysterious note here about a "pencil" and "cartilage".

Layered Pumpkin Chocolate Mousse Torte

(This baby’s entirely my own creation. Believe it!)


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (dutch process)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 Tbsp dark molasses
1 large egg
1/4 cup chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate.

Mix flour and next 6 ingredients in food processor bowl. Whir to blend thoroughly. Add butter, and process 30 seconds til mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir molasses and egg together in a measuring cup. Add to processor and whir until soft dough ball gathers (about 30 seconds.)

Roll dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 thickness. Gently press into bottom and up sides of a PAM sprayed 9-inch springform. Prick the bottom all over with a fork. Stick in freezer for 30 minutes while oven heats to 350. It wouldn't be a bad idea to drop in some foil with some pie weights on it for baking, but I didn't - live dangerously! Bake 12 minutes. Gently deflate if necessary with a clean dishtowel. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (I had some Sharfenberger on hand, but mini-chips would be fine). When melted, smooth with offset spatula.

Filling (the pumpkin layer):

4 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tbsp dark molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp brandy
2 large eggs

Combine 4 oz room temperature cream cheese with 1/2 cup creme fraiche in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium til smooth. Add pumpkin, and mix til smooth. Add two tablespoons dark molasses and 1/3 cup brown sugar, mix thoroughly. Add spices, vanilla, and brandy, mix til smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Pour over chocolate in crust. It will probably just fill the crust (assuming it slumped slightly during baking) however, it is fine if it comes above a little bit. Wrap outside of pan in heavy duty foil without covering the top, and place in large roaster. Pour in enough boiling water to come partway up the sides of the foil-wrapped springform. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until soft set. Set aside on rack to cool.

Chocolate layer:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp orange liqueur
1 tbsp brandy
2 tsp finely chopped grated orange peel
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

Heat cream, liqueurs, and orange peel to simmer. Pour over chocolate in a bowl and stir until smooth.

Mix egg yolks, sugar, 1/4 tsp cloves with mixer until thick, fluffy, and light yellow (2-3 minutes)

Fold egg mixture into chocolate mixture.

Gently fold in whipped cream. Mound on top of pumpkin layer, and smooth to edges. Refrigerate covered several hours or over night.

Shiny top:

2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate

Heat cream and butter til simmer. Add to chocolate and stir briskly til smooth and melted. Pour over top of chilled cake. Chill. Decorate as desired. I usually use edible copper Luster Dust sifted on through a tea strainer.

1 comment:

julie beth said...

OMG! that torte sounds amazing.

i feel about 5 lbs heavier just reading the recipe! damn. i'm making that, and soon. thanks!