I must remind myself not to take on big pastry projects when I am watching the season finale of one of my shows. And speaking of TV show finales…it is MARCH. What is up with shows starting in late October and then taking a break in December and part of January and then they are done in March! Does anyone else remember the days of a show starting September and going till May?
Okay enough about that. My point was I got all into watching What About Brian and I forgot a step. Not an important one luckily, but a step none the less. I forgot to spread the apricot preserves over the pastry…which I can not say for sure would have really made that much difference in the taste. I’m not sure what made me want to make this. I was just in the mood for a multi-step recipe. I know, I know…most people are looking how to simplify their life…I look how to complicate it. It is called a cake but not really in my opinion. It is sweet pastry dough that is wrapped around a gooey caramel walnut filling and then has chocolate glaze dumped on it….ha, dumped on it(no wonder I am not a food writer!) Now the serving suggestion size is one inch but my piece for breakfast was larger than that and I had no problems getting it down…though I will agree that it is very rich. Your friends and family would be quite impressed if you made this for them.
Chocolate Walnut-Caramel Cake
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup whipped cream
2 ½ cups walnut half’s
7 TBSP unsalted butter. softened
1 egg white, lightly beaten
½ cup apricot preserves
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 TBSP unsalted butter
Sweet Tart Pastry
10 TBSP cold butter
4 egg yolks
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract 1 ¾ cups flour
Sweet Tart Pastry:
Place egg yolks, salt, sugar, vanilla and butter in a bowl of food processor fitted with a metal blade; process using 4 one-second pulses until partially mixed. Add flour all at once and process with 6 to 8 one- second pulses until dough begins to clump(but does not form a ball). Gather dough into a rough mound on work surface. Work small portions of the dough against the work surface with the heel of your hand(pushing the dough away from you). Press pieces of dough into a ball. Divided ball into two pieces: one piece that is less than two thirds of the dough for the bottom crust, and one piece that is just over one third of the dough for the top. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
To make the cake:
1.Prepare Sweet Tart Pastry: Line bottom of an 8-inch diameter, 1 ½ inch deep, round cake pan(I used a spring form) with a circle of parchment paper. Brush sides of pan with melted butter. Roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle 1/8 inch thick and 10 inches in diameter. Mold the dough to bottom and sides of pan with gentle finger pressure. If the dough breaks as you are trying to fit it into the pan, just press into into the pan all around in and even layer. Patch holes with small pieces of dough. The bottom and sides of the pan must be covered with an even layer of pastry; none of the pan should show through. Wrap pastry shell and refrigerate while you make filling. Roll out the small piece of dough into a circle 1/8 inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Prick all over with a fork. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet, cover and refrigerate.
2. Place sugar and water in a 2 ½ quart saucepan, stir until sugar dissolves and syrup comes to a boil. Boil, without stirring, until sugar is a light caramel color.(320F on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat.
3.Add cream and stir to blend. Then stir in the walnuts and the 7 TBSP soft butter. Return to heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil gently until the syrup reaches 225F on candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Cool for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Preheat oven to 375F.
4.Brush inside of pastry-lined cake pan with a thin layer of egg white to moisture proof shell. Spread cooled caramel filling in bottom of shell. Trim the sides of pastry shell to 1/8 inch above filling. Place pastry lid on top; press to seal at edges.
5.Bake until pastry is golden brown(40-50 minutes). Remove from oven; cool in pan 30 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before covering with chocolate glaze.
6.Heat apricot preserves until melted and bubbly. Strain to remove piece of fruit. Brush entire surface of cooled pastry with warm preserves.
7.To make chocolate glaze: Break chocolate into small pieces and place in a small stainless steel bowl over a pot of hot(not boiling)water. Melt the 4 TBSP butter in a small saucepan, and skim off the white foam that rises to the top. When chocolate is just melted, stir in the clarified butter(discard the white solids left behind). Set aside until chocolate is 86F.
8.Slide cake onto a cardboard cake circle(covered with foil) that is slightly small in diameter that the cake. Place cake on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour chocolate glaze over cake and using a narrow metal spatula, quickly pared it evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Allow chocolate to set to firm consistency before serving.
9.Store cake at cool room temperature. If refrigerated, allow to warm to room temperature before serving. Serve in 1-inch wedges. Cake is very rich. Serves 12.
Source: Adapted from Cakes and Pastries at the Academy by the Califonia Culinary Academy
P.S. Don’t forget to vote for HHDD #10 Cheesecake. There are less than 5 days to do so!!!