Saturday, April 21, 2012

Torte Transgression - White Chocolate "Sacher Torte"

Most people have heard about the infamous Sacher Torte of Vienna.  It is, purportedly, the panacea of the pastries... The catholicon of cakes...  The most tempting of torten.

Sadly, though many have heard of this Viennese apotheosis, most of us will never actually taste one.  Oh, people claim that this or that is a Sacher Torte, and many people have a "recipe" that is suppose to be THE Sacher Torte, (even I developed a recipe) but technically they are fibbing... They may be Sacher-esque, or Sacher-like, and maybe even Sacher-ish, but it is unequivocally impossible for any of them to be real Sacher Torten.

The reason is simple.  The recipe is, what amounts to, a state secret kept under lock and key in an underground vault that is guarded by dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you... A-hem..  (I am "multitasking" by watching a Simpsons re-run as I type)

Anyway, there are 2 establishments that have laid claim to Franz Sacher's original recipe.  After a 7 year court battle that finally ended in 1963, (the Viennese are VERY serious about their pastries) the Sacher Hotel was awarded the name "The Original Sacher Torte" and Demel had to call theirs the "Demel's Sacher Torte" These are the ONLY two places in the world that can make the "real" thing.  And if you really want to try the real thing... The Sacher Hotel will ship it to your door. Click Here.  As will Demel's... Click Here.

The point is that even if you make a chocolate torte, layer it with apricot preserves and pour chocolate glaze over the top, it is still not a Sacher Torte.  That is, unless you are an accomplished cat burglar and can manage to smuggle the recipe out of Austria.  (don't forget your beekeepers suit) I'm just sayin'

Being somewhat of an insurrectionist due to my propensity to rage against the corporate machine, I have decided that since I cannot technically make a Sacher Torte, I am going to fly in the face of over 175 years of Austrian tradition (the torte was "invented" in 1832) and completely twist the idea into an antithesis of the original.  Sort of the Yin to the Yang of the original Sacher Torte.  In geek speak, the anti-matter version.

Thus it is, with a rebel yell, that I offer up a somewhat sweeter version of the Viennese Classic...

White Sacher Torte

142g (5 oz) (1 1/2 cups) Almond Flour
65g (2.25 oz) (1/2 cup) AP Flour 
6 TB Unsalted Butter
170g (6 oz) White Chocolate, chopped
4 large Eggs, separated
100g (3.5 oz) (1/2 cup) Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Cream of Tarter (or 1 tsp Lemon Juice)
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Apricot Glaze:
283g (10 oz) (1 1/4 cups) Apricot preserves
1 1/2 TB Rum

White Chocolate Ganache
177ml (3/4 cup) Heavy Cream
340g (12 oz) White Chocolate, chopped

Grease 2 9-inch cake pans, line them with parchment, then grease and flour the parchment.

Place Almond Flour and AP Flour in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Lets take a moment to admire the White Chocolate.

Just look at all that vanilla caviar speckling the creamy whiteness of the chocolate... OK, enough of that.

Chop the white chocolate and place in a saucepan along with the Butter.

Set over low heat and stir until melted, then set aside.

Place Egg Yolks and Granulated Sugar in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat them together until they form a ribbon. (About 8 minutes)

Begin preheating the oven to 325 F degrees while the egg yolks are being beaten.
Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly pour in the slightly cooled White Chocolate/Butter mixture.

Beat the egg whites until foamy, then sprinkle with Cream of Tarter and Kosher Salt.....

Then continue beating until they reach stiff peaks.

Spoon about 1/3 of the white into the Yolk/White Chocolate mixture and stir it in to lighten it and foster easier folding.

Add the Yolk mixture to the remaining whites and fold until combined.

Fold in the Almond/Flour mixture in 2 additions.

Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.

Turn out onto a cooling rack and peel of the parchment.

While the cakes are cooling it's time to make the Apricot glaze.
Place Apricot Preserves and Rum in a small saucepan set over medium heat.

Simmer for about 5 minutes to remove a little of the water.
Run through a fine mesh strainer to remove and chunky apricot bits.

You should have about 3/4 cup when you are finished.

Place bottom layer of the torte on a cake board, securing it with a little of the preserves.

Spread 1/3 of the preserves over the bottom layer.

Position the second layer on top.

Pour the remaining preserves over the torte and spread over the top and down the sides to completely encase the cake in a nice smooth layer.

(this will keep it from drying out and allow the white chocolate ganache to flow better)

Allow the torte to sit for 1 hour to allow the preserves to dry out slightly.
Which gives you plenty of time to make the White Chocolate Ganache.
Chop the White Chocolate and place in a small bowl.
Heat the Heavy Cream in a small saucepan over medium flame, until small bubbles appear around the edge.

Pour the hot cream over the White Chocolate and let sit for 1-2 minutes.
Begin stirring, in the center, and slowly but surly....

The mixture will melt and become a homogeneous shiny creamy ivory color.

Cover the ganache with plastic set on the surface to prevent crusting, and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. (White chocolate Ganache is really finicky and significantly runnier than regular dark chocolate ganache even though the ratio of chocolate to cream is much higher, so you need it to partially set up before you pour it.)
Place the torte on a cooling rack set in a jelly roll pan that has been lined with waxed paper. (this will catch the dripping ganache, in case you need to do a second coat)

Pour the ganache slowly, starting around the outside edge, in concentric rings, moving towards the center.

Allow the Ganache to set for 30 minutes. (put the whole thing in the refrigerator for 15 minutes if you are in a hurry)

You may scrape up the left over ganache and beat it with a mixer to incorporate some air so you can pipe it and write "Sacher" across the top, in true Sacher fashion. (or Sacher-esque, or Anti-Sacher or any other variation there of)

Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to ensure that everything is well set.

Bring it back to room temperature before serving though and as is traditional, since Sacher Torte is fairly dry, serve with mounds of "Unsweetened" Whipped Cream

(Trust me, it's sweet enough, you don't want the whipped cream to be sweet too)



Ciao Chow Linda said...

I've eaten Sacher torte at the Hotel Sacher and it was a fabulous experience, but I have to say your take on this delicious dessert has me wishing you lived nearby.

Patti T. said...

Now you have me wondering, was the Sacher torte that I saw in a bakery window in Luxembourg was the real thing or not?? It had an official looking seal/stamp on top of it, hmmm. I love the looks of yours and I will definitely be looking for that white chocolate.

Anonymous said...

Compliments to you for your Sacher Torte white versione. I was looking for this recipe!!!! I'm italian and on the italian blog there is nothing so I tried on the english server and I found yours. Thank you very much, it seems so yummy!!! I will absolutely try it!!!

Unknown said...

I will definitely be making your version of the Sacher Torte -- as I love White Chocolate.

We have a laMadeleine's here in Dallas, and their Sacher Torte is probably as close to the original Viennese dark chocolate one as one can get. They lace with kirsch instead of rum though.

Shane T. Wingerd said...

That sounds delicious! I am all for anything laced with Kirsch. :)

loliv74 said...

I am planning the white chocolate attempt this week end but with raspberry preserve. Not sure what boose to use tho.