Friendship and Chocolate-Espresso Torte with Raspberry Sauce
I just couldn’t resist.
Stacy is always the gracious guest and arrived with some beautiful flowers and long sprigs of fresh mint from her garden and this wonderful chocolate-espresso torte. She cheerfully announced the torte was “gluten-free.” Cool! Healthy chocolate torte! Woo Hoo! No, she didn’t say “Calorie-free” but who cares… it looked really good. We opened a bottle of champagne and toasted their next big adventure.
We enjoyed a nice dinner with Craig and Stacy and our other “best couple friends” Pete and Pam. Pete and my husband also go way back to the era of bad clothes. The three guys worked out together, skied together, mountain biked, camped and drank lots (and lots) of beer together. As couples, the six of us have been on countless weekend adventures during any season, shared many holidays and drank lots (and lots) of wine together. They all made the long journey to be at our wedding in Kauai.
They were my co-conspirators for my husband’s big surprise 50th birthday party last year.
We nick-named Pete “Marty Stewart” because he’s a great chef, gardener and even brews his own beer. The man has a bee house and harvests his own honey for Pete’s sake (no pun intended.) His wife, Pam is equally brilliant in every way as she is beautiful. In fact, if given the chance I think Pam and I could solve most of the world’s problems. At least that’s what we think when we start visiting over a glass of wine. Pete and Pam are absolutely perfect for each other.
So, you get the picture. These are rock-solid friends who never waver. No drama, no fall-outs. They would do anything for you…. The kind of people who you always enjoy being around. Oh, and the fun we’ve had….
Think Big Chill.. but without Jeff Goldblum and all the dramatic side stories…. and with much better food!
But back to the chocolate torte. Following dinner, Stacy prepared a sli
ce for each of us. The plates were beautifully prepared with a layer of raspberry puree on the base of the plate, a dense slice of the chocolate torte and garnish of a few berries and fresh mint springs. It was beautiful and delicious. Actually, I should say it was so delicious I forgot to take a photo of it… too busy inhaling each dense chocolate bite. Every bite as rich and flavorful as their friendship. It was also the perfect ending to yet another great evening with truly special people. We’re lucky they’ve put up with us all these years.
Cheers Craig and Stacy…. we’ll miss you!
Chocolate-Espresso Torte – The Recipe
Yield: Makes 12 servings
- About 1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into chunks
- 3/4 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup espresso
- About 1 cup sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 5 cups raspberries, rinsed
- 1 cup marionberries or blackberries
- Fresh mint sprigs, rinsed
1. Butter and flour an 8-inch cheesecake pan.
2. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over low heat, frequently stir chocolate, 1 1/2 cups butter, espresso, and 3/4 cup sugar just until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. In a bowl, beat eggs and whisk in chocolate mixture until well blended. Pour into cheesecake pan.
4. Bake torte in a 350° regular or convection oven until center barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes (center of torte will sink), then chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours.
5. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, whirl 1 quart raspberries until smooth. Rub purée through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard seeds. Stir 1/4 cup sugar into raspberry puree; taste, and add more sugar if desired.
6. Spoon raspberry sauce equally onto plates. Sauce will create a “bed” for the torte. Run a knife between torte and pan rim; remove rim. Cut torte into wedges. Arrange a wedge on sauce on each plate. Scatter remaining 1 cup raspberries and marionberries over desserts, and garnish with mint sprigs.
Note: If you don’t have an espresso machine, buy prepared espresso from a coffee shop or use strong brewed coffee: Pour 3/4 cup hot (about 195°) water through 1/3 cup ground coffee in a filter cone. If making torte and sauce up to 1 day ahead, chill separately in airtight containers.