From Ms. Goldman: "Dense but light, this flourless
torte is heaven. I adapted it from a recipe kindly provided by Montreal's
trendy Titanic Cafe. Chef Rob Hack agrees this simple cake is a
"killer" dessert. One of the easiest and elegant cakes you will ever
taste. I prefer this simply dusted with cocoa, but include a Ganache
Glaze for a fancier presentation.
The Titanic Cafe's Chocolate Chestnut Torte
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with a circle of baking parchment.
In a large bowl, using a whisk, or an electric mixer, combine the chestnut puree or cream with the butter or margarine until well blended. Mix in the vanilla, the egg yolks, and the melted chocolate and blend well.
In another clean bowl, with clean, dry beaters, gently whip the egg whites with the salt, just to break up and foam the whites slightly. Then gradually increasing the mixer speed, dust int he sugar to form stiff, glossy (but not dry) peaks.
Fold one third of the egg whites into the chestnut mixture and work it in well to lighten. Then, gently fold in the remaining egg whites in two installments, blending well but taking care not to deflate the mixture.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The cake will rise somewhat and look dry and slightly cracked on top when done. The middle should be soft but firm. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Freezes well.
Bring the whipping cream (or coffee) to a boil and add the chopped chocolate all at once. Remove from the heat and stir briskly, using a wire whisk, until all the chocolate melts and you have a thick glaze or sauce-like topping.
Invert the cake (so that the smooth, flat bottom faces up) and put it on a wire cake rack set over a cookie sheet. Pour the glaze over the cake, using a metal spatula to even the glaze out and spread it along the sides. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on the side or a pureed raspberry sauce. Or, garnish with chocolate shavings dusted with sifted confectioner's sugar.
Note: Chestnut puree, available in most supermarkets, ethnic stores
and European grocers, is usually imported from France. Lightly sweetened
chestnut cream or pureed chestnuts with a touch of salt (check the can
label---it will indicate what is inside), will also work well.