Friday, December 2, 2011

The Show Must Go On Concord Cake

Last Friday night, my dear friend Abby hosted a Thanksgiving dinner and she asked me to make dessert. I researched and researched and had settled on the All in One Holiday Bundt cake when she called me. I asked her if she had any last minute requests and she shyly copped to be craving chocolate mousse. Being that she's pregnant, I of course wanted to accommodate this craving but with mousse, raw eggs tends to be a problem. Back to the books I went! I found a recipe for this classic Concord Cake in one of my newer books by Israeli baker and patissier Ben Ami. The cake is made of two discs of chocolate meringue layered with chocolate mousse and then decorated with pieces of meringue. I bought all the ingredients Thursday night and quickly put together the mousse component that had to chill overnight. The next day I got to making the meringue. And there's where things started going awry. Some parts of the baked meringue tasted fine and some, oddly, tasted off. I refused to use them. So why do I call this The Show Must Go On Concord Cake? Because instead of chucking the entire cake, I used the good meringue to make a meringue crust and then I poured all of the mousse on top. I then topped it with the meringue pieces. Dessert saved! It got rave reviews and no one was the wiser. Obviously, next time I'd like to make this cake the way it was meant to be made. Additionally, I would top the cake with the meringue pieces just before serving because they got a bit soggy. Make sure that this is thoroughly chilled before serving, my mousse was a bit soft because it sat through shul. Still delicious, just soft. Below is the the recipe for the original. Should something go wrong though, improvise!

Concord Cake
from Ben Ami's cookbook

750 ml parve cream
300 grams bittersweet chocolate

6 egg whites
240 grams sugar
240 grams powdered sugar
20 grams cocoa

The night before assembling the cake, heat the cream until almost boiling. Add the chocolate and allow to sit for a minute. Stir until the chocolate is totally melted and the mixture is uniform. Cool. Wrap and chill overnight.

The next day, trace two 9 or ten inch circles on to two sheets of parchment. Place each sheet on a baking sheet. Set aside. Preheat your oven to 110 degrees Celsius.

To make the meringue:
Place the whites into the bowl of your mixer with a third of the sugar. Beat on medium until you get to the stage where the beater leaves tracks in the whites. Gradually add the next third of sugar making sure to beat until incorporated. Finally, add the last third of the mixture and beat on high until it is all combined and you have reached stiff peaks. Fold in the powdered sugar and cocoa. Spoon the mixture onto the traced circles and smooth to evenly fill the circles. Using the leftover meringue, pipe lines of meringue, short and small. They will be used to decorate and top the finished cake. Bake the meringue about two hours or until thoroughly dried out and they easily release from the parchment.

At this point, place the cold cream into the bowl of your mixer and whip until light, thick and creamy.

Place one disc of meringue onto a serving plate. Top with half the mousse. Top with the second disc of meringue and top with more mousse. Frost the sides with mousse. Break up the sticks of meringue and decorate the sides and top with them. Wrap and store in the freezer at least two hours.
I broke up the meringue and fitted it into the bottom of a ten inch springform pan
and topped with all of the mousse.
I topped it with the shards of meringue, wrapped and froze. That's it!

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