If your planning on having a formal dinner party to bring in the New Year instead of nibbling around buffet platters, then I have the menu for you! I will post the courses in installments so I don't take up a years worth of bandwidth.
When I cook long meals I always begin making dessert first. Once the dessert is out of the way, then I prep the rest. That's why I've chosen to start with the end of the meal and work backwards.
This cake is bittersweet chocolate rich. It's also flour-less and easy to prepare. The texture is like a dense mousse: moist and luxurious on the palatte. It's the perfect ending to a long menu because it will not take up too much space in already bursting bellies and you only need a sliver to satisfy the strongest sugar cravings.
I always notice that people are silent at the table when they eat it – the best compliment of all!
The full menu is the following:
8 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate (70%), chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup coffee, warm
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Butter a 9-inch round pan (not spring-form). Line bottom with a parchment circle and butter the parchment too. Have a larger pan ready to serve as a water bath (bain marie).
3. Melt the chocolate gently in a double boiler.
4. Whip the cream until soft peaks form then add 1 Tbs of sugar and whip a little further to incorporate. This helps the whipped cream stay stiff. Set aside in refrigerator.
5. Whip eggs on high speed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until they double in volume. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar to the eggs – don't dump it in all at once. Continue whipping until the eggs have tripled in volume. They will turn pale yellow in color and become thick. I beat them until they form ribbons when I drag a knife through them. Normally this takes about 4 minutes.
6. Pour the coffee into the chocolate and stir until combined. Fold the eggs into the chocolate in 3 additions. Fold in cream gently until batter is uniform in color (no streaks). Do not overfold or you will deflate it!
7. Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan. Place into the bain marie (water bath). Fill the outer pan with HOT water so that it reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan.
8. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cake still jiggles slightly in the center when gently shaken.
9.Cool completely on a rack. To unmold, slide small knife around the edges of the cake. Cover the top of the pan with a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper. Place a plate over the paper and invert pan and plate together. Remove parchment liner. Place a serving platter on the bottom of the cake and turn right-side up again. (flip flop the cake!)
10. Once the cake is completely cooled and on its platter, place a doily over the cake and sift powdered sugar over to give it a design. Serve with crème anglaise or whipped cream.
Makes at least 12 servings depending on how you slice it.