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Berry Pistachio Chocolate Mousse Torte

by , Private Pastry Chef, Au Courant, Omaha, Nebraska

Berry Pistachio Chocolate Mousse Torte

Makes one (7- to 7.5-inch) cake

A torte is a rich, multilayered show-stopper. This decadent, special-occasion recipe is somewhat involved, but certainly worth it. Precision is especially important here, which is why most ingredients are weighed.

    • Special equipment:
    • Digital scale
    • Digital thermometer
    • 7- to 7.5-inch ring mold
    • 2-inch width acetate sheet* (cut amount needed to line ring mold)
    • Parchment paper
    • 8-inch cake board or plate

    *An acetate sheet is a clear strip that holds in fillings and makes removing the tort from the ring mold substantially easier. These strips can be purchased in specialty baking stores or online.

      • Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
      • 90 grams all-purpose flour
      • 155 grams granulated white sugar
      • 32 grams Dutch processed cocoa powder (such as Valrhona or Noel)
      • 4 grams baking soda
      • 1 gram baking powder
      • 1 gram kosher salt
      • 1 egg
      • 70 grams buttermilk
      • 80 grams hot coffee
      • 32 grams canola oil

      Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 6-inch cake pan with parchment paper and cooking spray.

      In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. To a second bowl, add the egg, buttermilk, and oil and whisk until combined. Add the hot coffee all at once and mix well. Add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient mixture and mix well until well incorporated, about one minute of mixing.

      Pour batter into prepared 6-inch pan (about a third of the way up) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Note that there will be excess batter (which can be used to make a few cupcakes).

      Remove cake from oven and chill. (Chilling the cake makes it easier to trim the top and easier to handle in general.)

        • Chocolate Ganache
        • 60 grams chocolate (64 to 67% cocoa)
        • 40 grams heavy cream

        Add the chocolate to a small bowl. Bring heavy cream to a simmer and quickly pour over the chocolate. Let rest for a minute, then use a spatula to make a circular motion (starting from the center of the chocolate/cream mix) to slowly incorporate the two until completely incorporated and smooth.

          • Chocolate Mousse
          • 225 grams chocolate (64 to 67% cocoa)
          • 130 grams butter
          • 65 grams egg yolks
          • 165 grams egg whites
          • 40 grams granulated white sugar
          • 118 milliliters heavy cream

          In a double boiler inserted into a pan of simmering water over low to medium heat, combine the chocolate and butter and melt, stirring occasionally, until well incorporated. Allow chocolate/butter mixture to cool a bit before whisking in the egg yolks one at a time. Add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium-high until soft peaks form. Begin adding the sugar in a slow, steady stream and beat just until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped whites into the chocolate/butter/yolk mixture.

          Whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Once mousse has cooled to about 90 to 95°F, fold in the whipped cream gently, until no streaks remain.

            • Garnish Preparation
            • For the inside of the cake:
            • 2 to 3 strawberries, diced small
            • 8 to 10 raspberries, quartered
            • Pistachios, finely chopped
            • For the top of cake:
            • 8 to 10 strawberries, sliced into coins
            • Whole raspberries
            • Pistachios, whole, halved, and chopped
            • Chocolate shavings or chocolate curls

            Step-By-Step Assembly

            1. Bake the cake.

            2. Chill and trim the cake.

            3. Make the chocolate ganache.

            4. Center ring mold on the cake board and line the ring mold with the 2-inch acetate strip.

            5. Place the trimmed, 6-inch chocolate buttermilk cake in the center of the lined ring mold on the board. There will be a gap between the cake and the ring mold.

            6. Spread the chocolate ganache onto the chocolate buttermilk cake and top with the diced strawberries, quartered raspberries, and finely chopped pistachios. The ganache will act as a binder to hold the toppings onto the cake. Place topped cake into the refrigerator and allow the toppings to bind to the chocolate ganache.

            7. While the cake is chilling, prepare your mousse. It's important to make the chocolate mousse right before you need it (not ahead of time) so it doesn't set up before you pour it over the cake base.

            8. Quickly pour the mousse over the chocolate buttermilk cake base. Start by pouring around the edges and then cover the top. Lightly tap the cake on the counter to release some of the air bubbles on the sides of the cake and help the mousse fill in the edges. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the mousse as this will be the top of your cake.

            9. Transfer to the freezer to allow the cake to set up and harden. Once fully set, remove from freezer, remove ring mold, and peel the acetate strip from the cake.

            10. Garnish with strawberries, raspberries, pistachios, and chocolate shavings or chocolate curls to your liking. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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