I like the concept of Tuesdays with Dorie. I really do. But the practical aspects of baking a delicious new dessert every week - on top of trying to shed excess weight - is what gives me pause.
That's where I was when this week's choice came up: the Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte. It sounded scrumptious, but what was I going to do with a huge brownie torte in the house? I came this close to passing when I realized that this recipe fell on the same week as my birthday.
Voila! Instant birthday cake.
Note the mad birthday around the cake, in the form of copious beer bottles/wine glasses.
And thank goodness, too, because this thing was spectacular. For serious. One of the best things I've ever baked (and that's kinda saying something.)
The bottom layer is a dense, rich brownie, laced with dried cherries plumped in kirsch and glazed in cherry preserves. It's also dotted throughout the batter with chunks of bittersweet chocolate. The top layer is a mascarpone/cream cheese mousse. The creamy, barely-sweetened mousse is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet, heavy brownie.
In a word: Awesome.
It comes together fairly easily, but you have to plan ahead. I made the brownie in the morning, and the mousse about 5pm, and then stuck it in the fridge until my midnight serving time. Both the brownie and mousse are easy to make, but you have to give plenty of cooling off and resting time, and quite frankly, even after seven hours in the fridge the mousse was rather soft. The next morning for breakfast, though, the mousse was perfectly set.
If When I try this again, I will plan to let it chill overnight.
I didn't make many substitutions, using the cherries and cherry preserves, along with the kirsch, but I could see using other dried fruits. I messed up shopping, though, and only got 8 oz. of mascarpone instead of the 12 the recipe called for; I made up the difference in cream cheese with no noticeable negative effect.
I used melted semi-sweet chocolate for the brownie (7 oz.) and a bittersweet bar to cut into chunks. I made big chunks, which surprised people when they bit into the cake. Most people liked the chocolate, but at least one thought it disrupted the texture. I might cut it a little smaller in the future.
All in all, everyone who tasted this raved about it. Considering how relatively easy it is and how special it feels, I'll definitely put this in my "make again" file.
This week's TWD was April of Short + Rose. You can find the step-by-step and recipe on her site.