Chestnut Torte with Chocolate Mocha Butter Cream
For the torte:
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups ground chestnuts, from a jar is fine, ground in a food processor
1 cup raw almonds, ground
For the buttercream:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate pieces
1/4 cup strong coffee
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons dark rum
8 glazed or regular roasted chestnuts
Preheat oven to 350’F, Butter and flour two, 10 inch, spring form pans
To prepare torte:
Place the egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar in a bowl and set the bowl over a pan of hot water to warm. Whisk well. Remove from hot water and beat on high with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale, thick and when drizzled from the beaters, it leaves a ribbon on the surface. About 8 minutes.
Beat in the vanilla.
Fold in the chestnuts and almonds with a large, wooden spoon.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and then add remaining 1/2 cup of the sugar. Beat on high until stiff, dry peaks form. Gently stir 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chestnut mixture. Very gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chestnut batter.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans smoothing the surface.
Bake until golden and sides separate from the pan, about 40-50 minutes. Watch closely at the end so as to avoid over baking.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cool, gently remove the spring form sides and the base from the cakes. Place one cake on a cake stand or plate and the other on waxed paper.
For the icing:
Combine chocolate and coffee in the top portion of a double boiler and slowly melt the chocolate, stirring to prevent scorching. Set aside and keep warm.
Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and warm over a pan of hot water while whisking to warm. Once warm, remove from hot water and beat on high until pall and thick.
Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the temperature comes to 236′ F on a candy thermometer. With the mixer on low, beat a tablespoon of the hot syrup into the egg yolks to temper them then slowly pour the remaining syrup into the egg yolks increasing the speed to medium low. Fold in the warm chocolate and then gradually beat in the butter a few pieces at a time. Once all the butter is blended, mix in the dark rum.
Chill the icing until firm.
To assemble the torte:
Using just less than half of the buttercream, frost the bottom layer. Carefully position the second layer on top of the first and frost the top and sides of the torte. Garnish with the glazed chestnuts by placing each of them symmetrically around the outer rim.
Refrigerate briefly to set the icing.
Best served at room temperature with coffee, tawny port, or oloroso sherry.
*Williams Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook