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Feature Articles
 St. Patty's Day Recipes
 Leprechaun Treats
 Eat Your Vegetables
 Low Carb Sacher Torte
 The Perfect Pedicure
 Hoodia Love?
 St. Patty's Day Chuckles
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 Fat is Not the Enemy


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   Low Carb Sacher Torte by Joan Hedman

A few weeks ago, I was walking past the bakery in our local "fancy" grocery store. I was calmly ignoring all of the so-called goodies, until I saw the Sacher Torte. There's no other word for it; this decadent combination of dark chocolate and apricot has been a favorite of mine since I first tried it.

Of course I didn't buy it, but I was inspired to try it. This is one recipe I had never before attempted. The sheer length of it is daunting! Most Sacher Torte recipes toss around obscure cooking terms and techniques left and right, which only adds to the intimidation factor. In addition, there are a few steps where disaster seems not just likely, but inevitable, if you don't do things exactly right.

Please don't be afraid to try this. It's just a dense chocolate layer cake with apricot filling and chocolate glaze, and it's amazingly delicious. I've given very detailed instructions here so you'll know exactly what you're doing at every step along the way. Success with this recipe lies in the pre-prep, assembling the ingredients and having everything ready to go when you need it. If you follow the steps below, you should have smooth sailing — and a truly impressive dessert. Yes, it is a big production, but having a fabulous dessert like this without blowing your diet makes it all worthwhile.

The recipe below took as its starting point this recipe from Michele Urvater's Chocolate Cake cookbook. My finished torte appeared just a little shorter than the one illustrated at the link.

Low Carb Sacher Torte
12 to 16 servings

Apricot Jam: Torte:
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3/4 cup granular Splenda
  • 1/2 cup Erythritol
  • 6 large or 5 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
Glaze:
Equipment:
  • electric mixer
  • coffee or spice grinder
  • Food processor


  • 9-inch springform pan
  • bowls:
    3 small, 1 medium, 2 large
  • sifter/strainer
  • spatulas and scrapers


  • chopping board
  • chef's knife
  • small saucepan
  • Strainer


  • thin-bladed serrated knife
  • unwaxed, unflavored dental floss

Pre-prep

Clear a work space, and assemble all of the ingredients and equipment. I recommend using a stand mixer if you have one, but a hand mixer will work well, too.

Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper: unroll some parchment onto the counter. Open and remove the ring from the bottom of the pan, close it again, and then trace a circle on the parchment along the inside of the rim. Cut the circle out. Reassemble the springform pan and spray it with non-stick spray. Put the parchment circle in the bottom and spray the bottom again.

Separate the eggs, being careful not to get any egg yolks into the whites. The easiest way to do this is to break the egg into your own clean hand, and allow the whites to drip through your fingers as you gently grasp the yolk. It's messy, but low stress. You will be whipping the egg whites first, so put the whites in the bowl of your mixer (or one of your 2 large mixing bowls) and the yolks in a small bowl for later use.

Using the coffee mill, powder the Erythritol in two batches, for 30 seconds each. Empty the powdered sweetener into another small bowl.

Place the sifter over the medium bowl, and measure the almond flour and cocoa powder into it. Sift both into the medium bowl and set aside.

Unwrap the butter and cut it into about 8 pieces. Measure out the shortening onto the wrapper with the butter.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Preparation

1. Whip the egg whites and erythritol.
If you're using a stand mixer, fit it with the wire whip attachment. Whip the egg whites until they are white and foamy. This is referred to as the "soft peak" stage, because if you dip a spoon in straight down and lift it out, a little peak will form and it will flop over.

Sprinkle the powdered Erythritol over the egg whites, then whip at high speed until they are stiff and shiny. This is the "hard peak" stage, because a spoon dipped in and withdrawn will leave the resulting little peak standing straight up.

2. Cream the butter, shortening, and Splenda; add the egg yolks.
If you're using a stand mixer, scrape the egg whites out of the mixer's bowl into the other large mixing bowl you have ready. Put the butter, shortening, and Splenda into the mixing bowl and fit the mixer with the flat beater if you have one. If you're using a hand mixer, there's no need to wash the beaters in between these steps; just assemble the three ingredients in the other large mixing bowl.

Beat the butter, shortening and Splenda until the mixture is very light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes with a stand mixer and 4 minutes with a hand mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Beat an additional 2 minutes with a stand mixer or 4 minutes with a hand mixer after the last egg yolk has been added.

3. Fold the butter and flour mixtures into the egg whites.
With a wide spatula, scoop up about a third of the butter-egg mixture, and add it to the whipped egg whites. Gently spread the butter mixture over the egg whites; sprinkle about one-third of the cocoa-flour mixture on top of that. Slowly fold the butter and cocoa-flour into the whites; use the spatula to lift the whites from the bottom of the bowl and "fold" them onto the top ingredients. Do not stir vigorously or you will mix the air out of the whites. Make sure there are no large clumps of cocoa-flour or lumps of butter mixture; spreading the butter out over the whites makes it easier to incorporate.

Stir/fold for about six or eight strokes, then add one half of the remaining butter mixture, and one half of the remaining cocoa-flour mixture. Fold in as before, about 6 or 8 turns; don't worry about streaks of whites remaining. Add the last of the butter and flour mixtures, and fold in. At this point, the batter will have lost some volume, but don't be distressed. It's okay for some small patches of white to remain, but there shouldn't be any large streaks, clumps, or lumps of any of the three components.

4. Bake
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the batter evenly into the pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the preheated 325°F oven for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Make the jam and ganache.
Roughly dice the apricots into pieces about one-quarter inch across. Place them in a small saucepan with the sugar free syrup, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes.

While the apricots simmer, make the ganache; set it aside to cool, stirring from time to time.

After 20 minutes, remove the apricots from the heat and set the pan aside to cool until you can safely handle the mixture. When cool enough to handle, spoon or strain out 1 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside. Place the remaining apricots and liquid in the food processor, and pulse-process to form a chunky puree. Scrape the jam out of the food processor and set it aside in a small bowl until it's time to assemble the torte.

Assembly

1. Cut the cake into two layers
Remove from the cake from the oven when baked, and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Use a thin-bladed knife to loosen the cake from the edges of the spring form mold, then remove the outer ring. Allow the cake to continue to cool on the rack.

When the cake is completely cool, slice it into two layers. This is the most fussy part of this recipe! Here is my unorthodox but effective technique. You'll need a thin-bladed serrated knife (like a steak knife) and some unwaxed, unflavored dental floss. Using the knife, slice horizontally into the outside edge of the cake where you'd like to cut the layers apart. Go all around the cake, trying to keep your line level. You can use a ruler to measure where to cut; hold the ruler up against the side of the cake, and slice into the cake at the same mark all the way around.

Now you have a cake with the layers separated around the edge, but still joined in the center. This is where the dental floss comes in handy. Cut a length of floss about 18 inches long, and wrap each end around your index fingers, leaving a length in between that is slightly wider than the diameter of the cake. Work the floss into the slit you've cut in the cake, and gently saw it back and forth through the cake, using the slits to guide the floss.

Now the two layers are separate, and you can slide a long-bladed knife or thin spatula between them, and use that to lift off the top layer. Don't worry if it breaks; the ganache hides a multitude of sins. Put the top layer cut-side up on another plate.

Slide the bottom layer onto its serving plate. It's all right to keep it on the parchment if you want to, it makes it easier to slide, and doesn't interfere with slicing and serving.

2. Apricot syrup and preserves
Spoon one-half cup of the reserved apricot syrup onto each layer. Use a tablespoon to put small amounts of syrup over the cut surface of the cake, and use the back of the spoon to spread the syrup around as it sinks into the cake. You will have plenty of syrup to soak both layers, just be sure to spread the syrup around to soak them evenly.

Spoon half of the apricot preserves onto the bottom layer and spread it out evenly all the way to the edge.

The second most difficult task: lift the top layer and place it on top of the apricot filling. Since the cake layer is soaked with the syrup, it is more fragile. Be careful, and use your long thin spatula or knife to help lift the layer and flip it back onto the bottom layer. Don't worry if it cracks or breaks; just assemble the pieces on top.

Spread the remaining apricot jam over the top of the cake.

3. Glaze
By now, the ganache should be cooled and thickened enough so that if you pour it, it doesn't immediately run off the sides of the cake.

Stir the ganache so that it is smooth and pourable. Starting in the center of the cake, slowly pour it in a spiral pattern, starting in the center and spiraling out to the edge. Use a knife or small spatula to spread the ganache to cover the apricot jam completely. When the top is covered, use a small knife or spatula to spread the remaining ganache along the sides of the cake.

Refrigerate to set the glaze. Serve at room temperature as is, or garnish with a little lightly sweetened whipped cream. If you want to be extra-fancy, put some warm ganache in a squeeze bottle, and use it and a few pieces of diced apricot to decorate the plate.

Keep refrigerated, loosely covered with plastic wrap to prevent the glaze from drying out. The torte tastes best at room temperature, so it's best to allow the cut slices to warm up a little before serving. (When snacking on leftovers, I've found that 20 seconds in my microwave warms up a slice perfectly.) You can also freeze individual slices, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

APPROXIMATE NUTRITION INFORMATION PER 1/12 SERVING:
273 calories; 24 g fat; 12 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 6 g protein, 3 g sugar alcohols

APPROXIMATE NUTRITION INFORMATION PER 1/16 SERVING:
205 calories; 18 g fat; 9 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 4 g protein, 2 g sugar alcohols

As always, my mailbox is open for your comments and questions.

                                                

Copyright © March 2006  Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury




       

 

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