I brought this evil dessert along to the rowing club pot-luck supper yesterday. It's the single simplest and most impressive uncooked dessert that I know. The basis is ganoche which is heated cream with chocolate whipped in.
For 7 inch pan:
10 oz dark chocolate
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp liqueur (optional)
2 tsp grated zest of orange/lemon (optional)
1 cup cookie crumbs or nuts (e.g. ground almonds)
2 oz - half stick - butter
Prep time: about half hour plus time to set in fridge - 2-4 hours.
Use a 7 inch spring form cake pan to allow the dessert to be removed easily (but you can make this in any container as long as you line the pan with silicone paper or something like that). This dessert is very sticky at room temperature, but handles well once frozen. If you are taking it to a party you can cut it up when frozen and either serve frozen or thawed.
Make a crust with your favorite cookie crumbs mixed with melted butter (1 cups crumbs to half stick of butter). Or use half ground almonds instead of the cookie crumbs. Mix the crumbs and the melted butter and press into the bottom of the pan.
Heat cream to just about boiling. Remove from heat break the chocolate into pieces and addto the cream to melt. Stir well until smooth. Sir in the zest and liqueur. Pour over the crust. Leave to set in the fridge. Remove from pan and decorate as you like.
Stored well wrapped in a freezer, seems to keep well for 6-10 months. I find that if I make several at one time and keep them for special occasions it saves on mess and work.
I find taking the cake out of the pan painting it with orange marmalade and then sticking on sliced almonds looks nice. Add a few curls of chocolate or dried apricots or frozen raspberries...
At room temperature you can shape the dessert, so even if you have an accident, drop it off the plate onto the kitchen counter like we did on one memorable occasion, it can be repaired. Orange slices, mandarin segments, whipped cream...
- You can build up layers of different flavoured ganoche, once the first has set. Adding a can of sweetened or unsweetened chestnut purée to the ganoche makes a nice contrasting colour. Or use different chocolates; better quality chocolate is expensive but worth it; milk or white chocolate can look stunning as layers.
- If you are covering the cake with nuts then just pour on the different layers and allow to set. Gently swirl them if you are not covering the with nuts so that the swirls show a nice effect.
- Different fruit toppings or swirl in something like gently crushed raspberries from Dentz farm. M-mm!
- Different liqueurs: orange is great. There's a really nice inexpensive orange flavoured drink from the LCBO called Monsard Orange & Brandy. This won't break your budget at $24, and it's nice to drink as well. Forget that over-priced French stuff...although remember "Absinthe makes the tart grow fonder.*"
Depending on the depth of the pan you can make this tart as deep as you like. Hmm...a deep tart...sounds like we could craft some kind of joke around that as well.
* - Stolen joke alert!