This dark little torte is a wickedly good treat at the end of a meal, rich with complexity of luscious port soaked prunes, topped with whipped chocolate ganache & Autumn Fruits [poached quince slices, fresh plum slice & a few leaves] plus a little black pepper Chantilly cream on the side. I make two and stack them for large dinner parties that need a showstopper dessert.
As I write this I’m looking out over hills that have browned off to a nutty beige, there’s a whiff of Autumn drifting through the window and its stirred a fancy for a cake gutsy and gratifying like this one. A cake that kind of wraps you in a blanket in readiness for the cooler weather to set in, perfect with a glass of red.
I use whatever port I have kicking around to soak the prunes but any fortified wine will work well.
Note: soak the prunes the day before you want to serve the cake.
150ml Marsala or port
200g prunes, roughly chopped
300g dark chocolate
180g ground almonds
6 egg whites
200g caster sugar
Black pepper Chantilly cream:
300ml fresh cream
2 heaped tbsp icing sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Poached quince slices & fresh plums
Place the prunes and port in a non-reactive bow land leave to soak overnight.
1) Preheat oven to 180C (350 °F) fan bake. Grease and line a 26cm spring form cake tin.
2) Melt the chocolate, preferably using a double boiler/water bath method.
3) Stir the almond flour, the soaked prunes and liquor gently into the melted chocolate.
4) Beat the egg whites in an electric mixer until beginning to stiffen. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar and whisk until the mixture becomes slightly shiny.
5 Carefully fold meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture.
6) Spoon chocolate mixture into the tin and bake for around 35 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
1) Whip the cream with the icing sugar and grind over some fresh pepper.
2) Dollop thick shiny chocolate ganache on the top of the cake.
3) Smear over the ganache, arrange the fruit on top and serve with the sweetened black pepper cream.
4) Alternatively, dust the top with good quality cocoa powder and serve with fresh fruit & a generous dollop of the spiced cream.