Darren Purchese’s Chocolate & Whisky Torte

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A real chocolate-lover’s dream, this boozy dessert is definitely for adults only!


“We call it a drunken sponge as the texture allows it to soak up lots of the whisky syrup, leaving it full to the brim and sloshed! If you’re not into whisky you can replace it with something else such as dark rum.”

Ingredients
For the whisky syrup:
• 50g caster sugar
• 1 orange, finely grated zest
• 50g whisky

For the drunken sponge:
• 2 eggs
• 1 egg yolk
• 95g caster sugar
• 2 egg whites
• 90g plain flour
• 10g cornflour
• 10g unsalted butter, melted
• whisky syrup, (see above)

For the chocolate & whisky sauce:
• 100g soft brown sugar
• 50g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 50ml whisky
• 1 teaspoon dutch cocoa powder

For the chocolate cream with whisky:
• 340g dark chocolate, chopped
• 130g unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 370ml thickened cream
• 40ml liquid glucose
• 50ml whisky

Method
1
To make the whisky syrup, place 100 ml water, the sugar and orange zest in a saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar. Once boiling remove the pan from the stove and add the whisky.
2 For the drunken sponge, preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 30 x 20 cm baking tray with baking paper and spray with canola oil.
3 In a freestanding electric mixer, whisk the whole eggs and yolk with 75 g of the sugar until thick and pale. When the mixture has doubled in volume, transfer it to a larger bowl.
4 Clean the mixer bowl. Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, then gradually add the remaining sugar to form a stiff and glossy meringue. Fold the meringue into the first egg mixture then fold in the remaining ingredients.
5 Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Spread the mixture evenly using a palette knife or spatula and bake for about 12–14 minutes.
6 Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Turn the cooled sponge onto a work surface and use an 8 cm round cutter to cut six discs out of the sponge. The remaining sponge can be used for another dessert or frozen for later use.
7 Use a pastry brush to dab each disc of sponge with the whisky syrup and place each soaked disc into the base of an 8 cm pastry ring
8 To make the chocolate and whisky sauce, put the brown sugar and 100 ml water in a small saucepan over medium–low heat then stir to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until you have a deep amber caramel.
9 Put the chocolate in a bowl.
10 Remove the sugar syrup from the heat and stir in the whisky. Whisk in the cocoa powder and return to the heat to cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat, pour the syrup over the chopped chocolate and stir. Strain and leave to cool.
11 For the chocolate cream with whisky, put the chocolate and butter in a mixing bowl.
12 Put the cream and glucose in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and butter and stir together with a spatula. Work slowly, stirring from the middle of the bowl to the outside, to ensure the chocolate has melted and you start to see a smooth shiny cream. Add the whisky and mix again.
13 Pour the mixture into a jug. It is now ready to use – if it becomes too thick to use, you can warm it gently in the microwave. You need the mixture fluid to set level.
14 Pour the mix evenly into the six rings with the soaked sponge in the base and gently tap to level. Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before using a blowtorch to heat the edges of the ring and unmoulding each torte onto a plate.
15 To assemble, allow the torte to come to room temperature for an hour or so before dressing the dish with a scoop of any left-over chocolate cream and the chocolate and whisky sauce. You can decoratively dot the sauce around the torte on the plate if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Darren Purchese, extracted from Lamingtons & Lemon Tart

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