High Altitude Baking: Three-ingredients chocolate torte is a rich and simple holiday favorite | SummitDaily.com

High Altitude Baking: Three-ingredients chocolate torte is a rich and simple holiday favorite

Vera Dawson
High Country Baking

This chocolate tort is rich yet easy to make, and can be topped with most any fruit or ice cream.

Editor's note: High altitudes make cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.

Here's a holiday gift I bet you won't return … a recipe for a chocolate torte that's rich, lush and sophisticated yet ready for the oven in less time than it takes to sing "Deck the Halls."

Give it your signature by choosing its accompaniments. The one in the photograph is topped with piped whipped cream and sugared cranberries, but the torte is good with anything you like paired with chocolate cake. Try a white or dark chocolate glaze, a drizzle of caramel, fresh berries and raspberry sauce or a simple shower of confectioners' sugar, a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of coffee or vanilla ice cream.

Three-Ingredients Chocolate Torte

Make in an 8-inch springform pan

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)

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12 ounces high quality semisweet chocolate

4 large eggs, room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Unlock your springform pan, flip the bottom over so its rim is down, and re-lock it into place (This makes it easier to cut the baked torte). Grease the pan well with a flour-vegetable oil spray, line the bottom with a parchment paper circle and grease the circle.

2. Cut the butter into small pieces, chop the chocolate to the same size (a food processor makes fast work of this). Combine them in a large saucepan and melt them over very low heat until only a few lumps remain, stirring constantly. (This can also be done in a microwave in a large bowl). Remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth and shiny. Set aside and cool until tepid.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs on high speed until they are thick, pale, hold beater marks, and form a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. This can take from 4-9 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer. Fold the beaten eggs, a little at a time, into the cooled chocolate mixture; you don't want to deflate the eggs, so fold gently but thoroughly. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the top puffs and may develop a few cracks, the edges are set and start to pull away from the pan sides and the center is no longer wet but still jiggles a little when you shake the pan, from 15-23 minutes. The torte will be dry if overbaked, so watch carefully!

4. Remove to a rack, cool completely, run a knife around the pan edges, invert on a serving plate, remove the pan sides and bottom and the parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours and up to two days.

5. When ready to serve, add accompaniments, slice it while it's still cold (dip a thin, sharp knife in hot water and dry it between each cut), and let it warm a bit. If served cool it's dense and fudgy; at room temperature it's mousse-like. It's delicious both ways, the choice is yours.

Vera Dawson, author of the new high-altitude cookbook Cookies in the Clouds, (available at The Bookworm in Edwards and Next Page Bookstore in Frisco), is a chef instructor with CMC's Culinary Institute. Her recipes have been tested in her Summit County kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at veradawson1@gmail.com.