This is a very yummy_recipe :-) and impressive dessert... especially if you love chocolate. For those who truly wishe to make this dessert, it really does take (at least) 8 hours to make. I spread it out over several evenings. NOtes that came with the recipe said that it should not be cooked in the summer as the meringue goes soggy quickly. I suspect an air conditioned house/kitchen would be fine. Don't pipe the meringue too thick -- the thicker it is, the longer it takes to cook. 1/2 to 3/4" is good - though I have to admit I used an inch myself :). The notes also said that the single recipe for meringue made for me a 9" as well as a 7" hockey puck. I notice that the recipe, as is, makes too much mocha mousse (close to double) and more chocolate mousse than I would ever conceivably pipe onto the top of the dessert. The brownie, if anything, might be too little. And the ganache was just right. If I made it again, I would just make 6" or 7" desserts. Normal people (and not just serious chocolate die-hards) can actually cut that into 12 pieces and finish a piece of the chocolaty death.
For the really serious about chocolate:
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 tbsp cornstarch
6 oz semisweet chocolate, in coarse pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 egg whites
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Chocolate Brownie Layer
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, in coarse pieces
2 oz semisweet chocolate, in coarse pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter
22 oz semisweet chocolate, in coarse pieces
14 oz semisweet chocolate, in coarse pieces
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, in coarse pieces
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp cocoa, sifted
5 egg whites
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
Mocha Rum Sauce
6 oz unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
8 tbsp unsweetened cocoa, sifted
3 tbsp Myer's Dark Rum (I didn't have rum so I used Frangelico)
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a 9-inch cake circle as a guide, trace a circle with a pencil on a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit a baking sheet. Turn the paper over and, with trace mark down, place on a baking sheet.
To prepare the cocoa meringue, place 4 egg whites, the cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip. Whisk on high until soft peaks form, about 45 to 50 seconds. Gradually add 1 cup sugar while continuing to whisk on high. Whisk until stiff, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in and thoroughly combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, and the cornstarch. Fill a pastry bag (with no tip) with the cocoa meringue. Fill the traced parchment circle with meringue: start in the center and pipe a 3/4 inch wide spiral towards the outside of the circle.
Place the meringue in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 45 minutes before handling. Raise the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the meringue is baking, prepare the chocolate mousse. Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place 6 ounces semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly, about 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Keep at room temperature until needed.
Place 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a well-chilled balloon whip. Whisk on high until peaks form, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Whisk 3 egg whites in a large stainless steel bowl, until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Add a quarter of the whipped cream to the chocolate and whisk quickly, vigorously, and thoroughly, then add to the egg whites. Now add the remaining whipped cream. Fold all together gently but thoroughly. Refrigerate the chocolate mousse until needed.
Prepare the chocolate brownie layer: Sift together the 1/4 cup flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt onto the waxed paper. Set aside.
Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium-high heat. Place the 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, 4 tablespoons of butter, and 2 ounces semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap. Heat for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and stir until smooth.
Place the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip. Mix on high until slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and mix on medium for 30 seconds. Add the sifted ingredients, mix on low for 10 seconds, then on medium for 10 seconds. Add the sour cream and mix on medium for 5 seconds.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to combine thoroughly.
Grease cake pan with butter. Dust the pan with 1 teaspoon of cocoa, shaking out the excess. Pour the Simple the Best Brownie batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading evenly. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake the brownie until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Remove the brownie from the oven and allow to cool in the pan at room temperature for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a cake circle and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the brownie from the refrigerator and cut in half horizontally. Keep the brownie at room temperature until needed.
To prepare the ganache, heat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 3 tablespoons butter in a 2 1/2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Place 22 ounces of semisweet chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Keep at room temperature until needed.
To prepare the mocha mousse, heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of the double boiler over medium-high heat. Place 14 ounces of semisweet chocolate, 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, the water, instant coffee, and 2 tablespoons cocoa in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap. Heat for 6 to 7 minutes, remove the film wrap, and stir the mixture until smooth. Keep at room temperature until needed.
Place 5 egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip. Whisk on high until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Continue to whisk while gradually adding 2 tablespoons sugar. Whisk until stiff, about 30 seconds.
Whip 3/4 cup heavy cream in a well-chilled stainless steel bowl until stiff. Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the melted chocolate mixture, then fold in the whipped cream. Now fold in the remaining egg whites. Keep the mocha mousse at room temperature.
To assemble Death By Chocolate, place a closed 9x3 inch springform pan on a baking sheet. Set the top half of the chocolate brownie inside the pan, top side up. Ladle 1 1/2 cups of ganache into the pan over the chocolate brownie. Trim the cocoa meringue with a serrated knife so that it will fit tightly into the pan. Place the trimmed cocoa meringue, top side up, inside the pan on top of the ganache, pressing down gently on the cocoa meringue to eliminate air pockets.
Spoon the mocha mousse on top of the cocoa meringue, spreading evenly. Place the remaining chocolate brownie half, bottom side up, on top of the mocha mousse. Chill the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes or refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove the cake from the freezer and cut around the edges to release from the springform pan. Pour the remaining ganache over the cake and use a cake spatula to spread the ganache evenly over the top of sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the ganache.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the chocolate mousse. Pipe a circle of stars (each touching the other) along the outside edge of the top of the cake. Continue to pipe out circles of stars until the top of the cake is covered. [This was too much piping for me. I settled for making a pretty pattern with the mousse and feeding the rest of it to my chocoholic friend Aaron.] Refrigerate the Death By Chocolate for at least 4 hours, and preferably 12 hours, before cutting and serving.
Prepare the Mocha Rum Sauce: Heat the butter in a 2 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the sugar, heavy cream, sifted cocoa, 2 tablespoons rum, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the instant coffee, vanilla extract, and the remaining tablespoon of rum, and stir until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
To serve, cut the Death By Chocolate into the desired number of servings. Heat the blade of a serrated knife under hot running water before slicing into the cake. [Really, it's more about melting through the cake than cutting it] Repeat this procedure after cutting each slice. Before placing the cake slice on the 10 inch diameter plates, flood the base of each plate with 3 to 4 tablespoons Mocha Rum Sauce, then place a piece of Death By Chocolate in the center of each plate.