Apricot: Chocolate Apricot Pecan Torte

posted by cchiu 11-20-100 7:12 AM

Chocolate Apricot Pecan Torte
November, 1985 issue of Bon Appetit.
14 to 16 servings

1/3 cup Cognac
1-1/4 cups dried apricots (about 6 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 Tablespoon butter, room temperature
3 Tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Chocolate Icing:
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Apricot Glaze:
2 Tablespoons (about) Cognac
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup pecan halves (optional)
Apricot Roses
Chocolate Leaves

For cake: Heat Cognac in medium saucepan until just hot. Remove from heat and mix in apricots. Let soak 15 minutes. Strain apricots, reserving any soaking liquid for glaze.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 8-1/2 inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Dust with 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs. Using electric mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time (mixture may look curdled). Add chocolate and vanilla. Mix in 2/3 cup breacrumbs.

Combine pecans and flour and blend into batter. Fold in apricots. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Run knife around edge of cake. Invert onto platter. Slide sheets of waxed paper under edges of cake.

For icing: Stir all ingredients in top of double boiler over simmering water until mixture is shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. Cool icing for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour icing over cake, tilting cake to cover evenly. Using thin flat spatula, spread icing over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate until icing is firm.

For glaze: Add enough Cognac to soaking liquid reserved from apricots to measure 2 tablespoons. Combine with jam in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until melted. Strain through fine sieve into small bowl. Cool until tepid, about 5 minutes. Pour glaze over top of cake. Using thin metal spatula, spread evenly (do not let any drip down sides). Arrange pecans around upper edge of cake, ends touching. Discard paper. Refrigerate cake until glaze is set. (Cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead.)

Arrange Apricot Roses in center of torte. Place large chocolate leaf between each flower. Place smaller leaf between each large leaf. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Apricot Roses
Makes 3
12 moist dried apricots

Roll each apricot out, sticky side down, between 2 sheets of waxed paper to thickness of 1/16 inch. Roll one up tightly, sticky side in, to form tight center bud of rose. Wrap another apricot around bud, sticky side
in, pressing gently to adhere. Repeat with 2 more apricots, overlapping half of each previous one. Gently bend top of outer 3 apricots outward to form petals. Place toothpick horizontally through base of rose. Cut off apricot below toothpick to form flat base. Repeat with remaining apricots. Place roses on plate and freeze 30 minutes. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.) Discard toothpicks before arranging roses on cake.

Chocolate Leaves
Makes 6

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
3 large rose leaves with stems
3 medium rose leaves with stems

Spread chocolate over veined side of each leaf, being careful not to drip on edges. Place on plate chocolate side up. Freeze until just firm, about 10 minutes. Starting at stem end, gently peel leaf away from chocolate, freezing briefly if too soft to work. (Chocolate Leaves can be prepared 1 week ahead and refrigerated. Wrap tightly.)

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