Is there a last frontier for the chocoholic? Is there life after a Kron chocolate truffle? After a David's chocolate chunk cookie? After a slice of Le Notre's Concord cake? Each year, just when I think I have discovered the ultimate chocolate morsel, a whole new frontier seems to open before me. This year, 1985, is the year of the chocolate terrine -- dense chocolately mixtures that fall into a new category between the mousse and the underbaked cake.
Here are three company-worthy chocolate terrines. The first, Three Chocolate Terrine, is elegant, easy but quite time consuming to prepare, a layered terrine of three different chocolates.
The second, Chocolate Terrine, is a buttery rich chocolate terrine with a bittersweet glaze and is accompanied by runny whipped cream.
And the third terrine, Chocolate Terrine with Golden Raisins, is flavored with coffee and scotch or rum and is served with a custard sauce. THREE-CHOCOLATE TERRINE (12 to 15 servings)
This elegant terrine uses three different kinds of chocolate. The layers are chocolate mousses -- one bittersweet and the other white chocolate, separated by layers of chocolate cake (really a fallen chocolate souffle' baked in a jelly roll pan). Finally, the terrine is coated with a dark chocolate glaze. FOR THE CAKE: 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 6 eggs, separated 1/2 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla FOR THE BITTERSWEET MOUSSE: 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate 1 1/2 cups whipping cream 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla 3 egg yolks FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: 6 ounces imported white chocolate 1 cup whipping cream 1/4 cup sugar FOR THE GLAZE: 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter 2 egg yolks
To make the cake: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally. As soon as the chocolate is melted, pour it into a mixing bowl to cool. In another, large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until they begin to thicken, about 1 minute, then gradually add 6 tablespoons of the sugar and continue to beat until pale in color, very thick, and about quadrupled in volume. Add the vanilla, beat until well combined and set aside. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, then gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Do not overbeat. Stir about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten the it. Fold the chocolate into the egg yolks until just combined, not deflated completely. Finally, fold the remaining egg white into the chocolate mixture.
Pour into a jellyroll pan which has been lined with baker's parchment, spreading the mixture evenly in the pan. Bake at 350 degrees until the cake is set and the center feels cooked but springy to the touch, about 15 minutes.
While the cake is baking, lay a large sheet of parchment on a counter. When the cake comes from the oven, carefully flip it over onto the parchment-lined counter. The top of the cake will be against the parchment on the counter. Carefully peel off the top parchment. Let cool while the fillings are prepared.
To prepare the bittersweet mousse, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring occasionally. As soon as it is fully melted, set it aside at room temperature to cool. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream until it reaches soft peaks, then add the sugar gradually and beat until stiff. Finally, add the vanilla and mix well.
When the chocolate is cool, beat the egg yolks into it, then scoop about a quarter of the whipped cream onto the chocolate and beat at the lowest speed until the two are well combined. Pour the chocolate mixture over the remaining, whipped cream and fold the two together. Set aside in a cool place, but do not refrigerate or the mousse will become too hard to pour into the terrine mold.
To prepare the white chocolate mousse, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler as directed for the bittersweet mousse and cool.
While chocolate is cooling, whip the cream and add the sugar, in the same way as directed above. Finally, fold the two mixtures together.
To construct the terrine: Line an 8 cup loaf pan with plastic film, pressing the film against the sides and bottom.
Pour enough of the bittersweet mousse to fill the loaf pan about a quarter full, spread it in an even layer.
With a very sharp knife, cut a piece of the cake so it will fit perfectly atop the mousse. Carefully remove the cake from the parchment (if it breaks, don't worry, just patch it into place) and set it on the mousse.
Pour the white chocolate mousse on top of the cake, spreading it to make an even layer.
Cut another piece of the cake to fit the terrine and place it on top of the white chocolate mousse.
Finally, pour the remaining bittersweet mousse into the terrine and smooth the top.
The next day, invert the terrine onto a decorative serving plate, making sure that none of the plastic film slips underneath. Peel off the film and smooth the wrinkled surface with a small spatula or knife.
Slip strips of paper about 3 inches wide just under the terrine, on all sides, to catch the drippings from the glaze.
Melt the chocolates and butter, cut into small pieces, in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring occassionally. Set aside to cool until the glaze feels just warm to the touch, then stir in the egg yolks.
Spoon the glaze over the unmolded terrine so that the top and sides are all evenly coated.
Place terrine in the freezer for 10 minutes, then remove and cover with plastic wrap. Return to the freezer until 1 hour before serving time, then transfer it to the refrigerator to soften slightly.
This terrine needs no sauce, just slice and serve. CHOCOLATE TERRINE (10 to 12 servings)
This terrine has a light chocolate flavor, even though it is made with a combination of semisweet and unsweetened chocolate. The texture is fine and smooth with a buttery richness that melts in your mouth. The bittersweet chocolate glaze gives the terrine a polished appearance. 9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 3 cups whipping cream 9 tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 6 egg yolks FOR THE GLAZE: 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter FOR SERVING Runny Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
Cut the 2 types of chocolate and the butter into small pieces to facilitate melting and place in the top of a double boiler. Melt the chocolate and butter slowly over simmering water, stirring frequently. As soon as the last lump of chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and set aside at room temperature to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream until it reaches soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and the vanilla and beat until very stiff. Set aside.
Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate, which will become shiny and thicken slightly as the yolks are absorbed.
Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate until no streaks are left.
Line an 8-cup loaf pan with plastic film, pressing the film against the sides and bottom of the pan, and being certain to cover all the exposed surfaces to insure that the terrine unmolds easily.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the terrine, smooth the top with a spatula, and refrigerate overnight.
To unmold, invert the terrine onto a decorative serving plate. Be careful that none of the plastic wrap gets caught underneath. Peel off the plastic wrap and return the terrine to the refrigerator while the glaze is prepared.
For the glaze, melt the chocolate and butter, cut into small pieces, in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring occasionally. Allow this glaze to cool until it is just slightly warm to the touch.
Cut strips of paper about 3 inches wide and insert them just under the bottom edges of the unmolded terrine. Spoon the glaze over the terrine, allowing it to drip down onto the paper and spoon it onto the sides of the terrine. Remove the paper and refrigerate, uncovered, until serving time. (Terrine can be frozen at this point for use later.)
Serve with Runny Whipped Cream, passed separately. RUNNY WHIPPED CREAM (Makes 2 1/2 cups) 1 1/2 cups whipping cream 1/4 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat the cream with an electric mixer until thickened but still quite loose, then gradually add the sugar and vanilla and beat until the cream is very thick but still runny -- not at all stiff, just before it reaches the soft peak stage.
Pass the runny whipped cream as a sauce with the terrine.
Note: Runny Whipped Cream may be stored in the refrigerator for an hour or so before serving. Longer refrigerator storage sometimes causes the cream to become soupy. CHOCOLATE TERRINE WITH GOLDEN RAISINS (16 to 18 servings)
The flavor of the chocolate in this terrine is deepened by the addition of coffee and liquor, with soft golden raisins providing textural interest and contrast. It is coated with a shiny dark chocolate glaze and served with a custard sauce. 3/4 cup golden raisins 3/4 cup scotch, dark rum or bourbon 24 ounces semisweet chocolate 4 egg whites 9 tablespoons sugar 1 cup whipping cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup espresso, at room temperature 4 egg yolks FOR THE CUSTARD SAUCE: 7 egg yolks 3/4 cup sugar 3 cups milk 1 tablespoon vanilla FOR THE GLAZE: 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut in small pieces 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in tablespoons 2 egg yolks
Combine the raisins and the liquor and soak overnight.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat. As soon as the chocolate is melted, set aside at room temperature to cool.
In a very large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until very frothy, then gradually add 5 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until a stiff shiny meringue forms. Set aside.
Beat the cream until it begins to thicken, then gradually add the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and vanilla and beat until very stiff.
Pour the raisins into a small strainer set over a measuring cup. You'll need 1/2 cup of the liquor for the next step. If necessary, add or subtract from what accumulated under the raisins to make exactly 1/2 cup.
Pour the liquor, coffee and egg yolks into the cooled chocolate and beat with a wire wisk until well combined.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and fold together. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and fold until no streaks remain. Fold in the raisins.
Line an 8-cup loaf pan with plastic film, press the plastic film neatly against the sides and bottom of the pan. Pour the terrine mixture into the pan and freeze overnight.
To make the custard sauce place the yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water and beat with an electric mixer until pale in color and very thick. (The beaters should leave a ribbony trail behind themselves are they are drawn through the mixture.)
At the same time, heat the milk in a separate saucepan until steam begins to rise from the surface. Do not boil.
Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, beating until well combined. Once the milk has been added, use a wooden spoon to stir the custard over the hot water until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Stir constantly as the custard thickens, being certain to scrape the bottom of the pan. Do not boil; if custard is heated to the boiling point the eggs will curdle.
As soon as the custard thickens, stir in the vanilla and pour into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic film onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, prepare the glaze: Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring occasionally. When completely melted, stir together and set aside to cool until just slightly warm to the touch. Add the egg yolks and stir together to form a shiny glaze.
Meanwhile, while glaze is cooling, remove the terrine from the freezer and invert onto a decorative serving plate, being careful not to let any of the plastic film get caught under the terrine.
Peel off the plastic film and place the terrine back in the freezer. Cut strips of paper about three inches wide and insert them just under the bottom edge of the unmolded terrine. When glaze has cooled to room temperature, spoon over the terrine, allowing it to drip down onto the paper as the sides are glazed. Remove the paper and return to the freezer for 10 minutes to harden the glaze, then remove and cover with plastic film.
Freeze until serving time.
After presenting the terrine, slice and serve with the custard sauce passed separately.