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Holiday season is about the desserts

The holiday season is all about indulging, is it not? Inviting friends and family to your home, or having a potluck party? This dessert is a great crowd pleaser that can serve from 8-16 people. This Chocolate Pavé (pav-eh – translates to “paving stone”) is dense, flourless cake that is fantastic served with whipped cream, ice cream or even strawberry jam. It is not overly sweet.

There are three tricks to this cake. Number one: dealing with the eggs in this cake can be a little tricky.

You must separate them carefully to ensure that NO yolk gets into the whites. Yolks contain fat, so therefore, if your whites contain any trace amount of fat (either from the yolk or from possible grease in your bowl) your whites will not whip up.

Number two: be careful not to over-whip the egg whites or they will deflate. When you lift the whisk from the egg whites the first stage is ‘soft peak.’ This is a little ‘rolling hill’ shape. The ‘stiff peak’ stage is just around the corner, and when you lift the whisk from the whites they will hold a ‘pointed’ shape.

This is when to stop whisking.  Number three: Folding. You’ve worked really hard at getting the egg whites to the desired volume; this volume is what will give the cake some leavening. To fold, gently use a spatula to bring the ingredients from the bottom and ‘fold’ over the top.

Chocolate Pave

  • 7-1/2oz 70% Lindt chocolate
  • 15 tablespoons (2 sticks minus
  • 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pan with flour or cocoa powder, shaking out the excess;

Set a medium heat-proof bowl over (but not touching) simmering water and add unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate and butter. Heat until melted and smooth, stirring often. Set aside to cool; Separate 6 eggs, and whisk the 6 yolks with 1/2-cup sugar. Continue to whisk until the mixture forms a ribbon when the whisk is lifted from the bowl and all the sugar has dissolved, about five minutes. Fold the yolk mixture into the melted chocolate;

In a separate bowl, whisk the 6 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 1/2-cup sugar and 1/4-teaspoon salt. Continue to whisk until the mixture looks glossy and holds a stiff peak;

Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in three parts. Fold only until there are no visible streaks of white.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, smooth the top and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. As the cake cooks it will develop cracks on the top; this is normal. The cake is done when the sides are set and the center is still slightly soft;

Let the cake cool completely. Invert the cake onto a baking sheet, remove the parchment paper and then invert onto a serving platter.

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