This is a showstopper: a fudgelike mousse cake with a simple, no-bake nut crust. Use pasteurized eggs if you are concerned about eating uncooked eggs.
The cake can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. The topping can be made up to 4 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated. The cake can be fully assembled up to 2 hours before serving.
Servings: 12 - 16
- For the crust
- 3 ounces walnuts, toasted (see note below)
- 4 ounces pecans, toasted
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- For the filling
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the topping
- 1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the crust: Have ready a 9-inch round springform pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon; pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the melted butter, stirring to moisten evenly. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the filling: Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a pan with an inch or two of barely boiling water over medium heat.
While the chocolate is melting, put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Switch to a whisk attachment and add the eggs 2 at a
time, beating well to incorporate after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about 2 minutes. (The mixture may look
Transfer the bowl of chocolate to a work surface and stir until smooth and slightly cooled but still warm. With the mixer on low speed, add the chocolate to the sugar-egg mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the chocolate is well incorporated. Add the cream and vanilla extract and mix well. Spread the thick filling over the crust; cover with plastic wrap (the wrap should not touch the surface) and refrigerate about 3 hours, or until firm.
For the topping: In a bowl, whisk together the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until serving, or spread directly on the refrigerated cake. To serve, run a hot, dry knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then transfer it to a serving platter. Slice with a hot, dry knife; serve chilled.
Adapted from "Classic Stars Desserts," by Emily Luchetti (Chronicle, 2007).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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