Cookbook author Marcy Goldman created this special dessert when she discovered that kosher-for-Passover chestnut puree did not exist. Here, she uses sweet, bland and starchy sweet potatoes, which make a terrific substitute.
Make the glaze or simply dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. But don't skip the matzoh buttercrunch praline garnish, which is easy to make and a pleasure to eat on its own. Goldman's matzoh treat, a.k.a. Caramel Matzoh Crunch, remains a wildly popular Passover recipe on the Internet.
Make Ahead: The cake can be baked up to 3 days in advance. The glaze will look best when it is prepared and spread on the cake just before serving. The matzoh buttercrunch can be made and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for 1 to 2 months.
- For the torte
- 1 15-ounce can sweet potatoes (may substitute 1 1/2 cups mashed)
- 4 ounces unsalted margarine or pareve butter substitute
- 6 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- Pinch salt
- For the glaze
- 2/3 cup strong coffee or cola (may substitute water)
- 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, plus more as needed
- For the matzoh buttercrunch praline
- 4 to 6 sheets matzoh
- 1 cup unsalted margarine or pareve butter substitute
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
For the torte: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line the bottom of a 9- or 10-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper.
Use a whisk or an electric mixer on low speed to blend the sweet potatoes and margarine or pareve butter substitute. Add the egg yolks, sugar and melted chocolate; mix well.
Place the egg whites in the clean mixing bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Add the salt; beat on medium speed just until the whites become foamy. Gradually increase the mixer speed to medium high, slowly adding the 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff, glossy (but not dry) peaks form.
Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remaining two-thirds of the egg whites in 2 installments, blending well but taking care not to deflate the mixture.
Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes; the cake will have risen and will 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 from the pan and transfer to a wire rack (it can still be on the springform pan base, if desired).
For the glaze: Bring the coffee or cola to a gentle boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Add the chopped chocolate; reduce heat to medium-low and stir to melt chocolate and smooth into a glaze. If it seems too gloppy, add chopped chocolate as needed, stirring until a thick glaze forms. Let cool.
While the cake is cooling, make the matzoh buttercrunch praline: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Stack 2 baking sheets on top of each other; line the top one completely with aluminum foil, then place parchment paper on top of the foil. (This is very important as the mixture becomes sticky during baking.) Fit the matzoh sheets in the lined baking sheet, cutting or breaking extra pieces as needed to completely cover the surface area.
Combine the margarine or pareve butter substitute and the brown sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, then cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Remove from the heat, then pour or spoon over the matzoh.
Transfer to the oven; immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning. If it is browning too quickly, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Return to the oven when the temperature is at 325 to finish baking.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the matzoh immediately with the chopped chocolate or chips. Let stand for 5 minutes so the chocolate melts, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzoh.
While still warm, cut into squares or odd shapes or shards. Refrigerate until set.
To assemble the torte: Spread the glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Use crushed pieces of the matzoh buttercrunch praline to decorate the sides and arrange the shards on top.
NO-BAKE MATZOH BUTTERCRUNCH PRALINE VARIATION: If you prefer to use granulated (white) sugar or can't find kosher-for-Passover brown sugar, combine 2 cups of granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar becomes creamy. Cook until the mixture becomes amber in color. Lay sheets of matzoh on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Pour the hot sugar mixture over them, then scatter 3/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate on top. As it melts, spread the chocolate evenly. Let cool.
From Goldman's upcoming new edition of "A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking" (Whitecap Books, October 2009).
Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh.
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