Chocolate & Bourbon Torte

This is the other dessert I brought to the barbecue I attended at the weekend.

The host and his partner had promised to serve up a generous portion of pork ribs and one of the best antidotes I know for meat sweats is a dense, dark chocolate torte.

I made a Bourbon chocolate tart (rather than a torte) last year, but the texture of the pastry was a distraction and the filling was bland.  The bland filling was my fault, as I used a not-particularly-exciting chocolate  (the brand rhymes with 'align').  If you're baking something where chocolate makes up more than a quarter of the total mass of the ingredients (see also; brownies), you want to use a chocolate that tastes good when you put a square of it in your mouth.

I love dark chocolate from Madagascar, which as I learnt when I met the owner of Auberge du Chocolat, has fruity, summer berry notes, which I thought would sit well with the dried fruit and toffee notes in the Bourbon.

Marks & Spencer sell a 100 gram bar of Madagascan dark chocolate at a purse-friendly £1.69 (compare that to the Madagascan bar in Artisan du Chocolat's 'Origin' range, which sells at £3.15 for 45 grams; not that there's any connection between the two brands, or Artisan du Chocolat produce chocolate for M&S...).

I used Elijah Craig Bourbon. You don't use much, but the flavour really comes through in the torte, so it's worth using a decent Bourbon. Please don't use Jack Daniels, it is rank and is not considered a true Bourbon by people who drink too much of the stuff.

If you don't imbibe alcohol, substitute the Bourbon with one and a half teaspoons of non-alcoholic vanilla extract, to capture the same warmth and sweet notes that Bourbon adds to the torte.

Best served with vanilla ice cream or some lightly whipped double cream.

Nick Malgieri's Chocolate Bourbon Cake 
(As written for the Green & Black's Ultimate Chocolate Recipes Collection)
Serves 10

110 grams unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
150 grams dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into 5mm pieces
60 grams golden caster sugar**
30 grams plain flour
Pinch of salt
3 large free-range eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons best-quality Bourbon (or 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
50 grams dark brown sugar

**My adaptation: the recipe calls for granulated sugar, which I think is a US/UK translation error from the original recipe.

1. Place a rack in the top third of your oven and pre-heat to 180C (160C fan-assisted).
2. Butter a 20cm round, 5cm deep cake tin.
3. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat, allowing it to sizzle and get very hot.
4. Remove from the heat, add the chopped-up chocolate and whisk until smooth. Stir in the salt.
5. In a small bowl, mix the caster sugar and flour together.
6. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and Bourbon.
7. Whisk the flour and caster sugar into to the egg mixture in three additions.
8. Stir the brown sugar into the cooled chocolate mixture, then stir this into the batter.
9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
10. Bake the torte for 25 minutes.
11. Cool the torte in its' tin, on a wire rack.
12. Once cooled, unmould the torte, dust with icing sugar or cocoa and serve.

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