Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cake of the Month for April: Chocolate Decadence

If I'm doing a flower arrangment a month, why not a dessert of the month to go with it? I'm in full blown "empty out the pantry" mode with our move coming up at the end of May, and I am proud to say I didn't have to buy a single ingredient to make this insanely decadent chocolate pie.

I used this plain jane recipe from Nestle (using up the evaporated milk I had on hand was my primary concern, so I checked out their website.) but tweaked it for a more sophisticated palette. I added almonds to the graham cracker crust- just toss a few handfulls and pulse into the texture of cornmeal with your Cuisenart before you add the graham crackers. It adds a nice richness to the crust. I also pre-baked my crust for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees to give it a toasty crunch.

The filling was painfully simple to make, given the agony I went through with this elaborate chocolate torte. Just heat up a little evaporated milk, whisk in some eggs and stir in chocolate chips to get a thick, rich pudding filling. I added a splash of Grand Marnier to give a hint of orange and a depth of flavor that was missing from the flat flavor of melted chocolate chips.

I used my new cheesecake pan (a thrift store score!) to let it chill overnight and was wowed by how pristine it looked on it's pedastal. A scattering of slivered almonds really made it feel special. Candied orange peel would have been a nice touch to refer to the Grand Marnier I added. Does anyone know how the pros remove the cheesecake pan bottom from the crumbly crumb crust? I was too nervous to attempt it.

No fear of tasting this masterpiece though! It was sublime, rich, creamy, cool, velvety and with a perfect balance of flavors. It would be a great finale to a well planned dinner party, but it's simple enough to make just because you need a chocolate fix. Genius.

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