I'm a big fan of French author Mireille Guiliano who burst onto the publishing scene in 2005 with her book, French Women Don't Get Fat. She has gone on to write several more books, including French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, & Pleasure (Vintage) Mireille Guiliano (and as I also aspire to) lives her life by the seasons. In French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, & Pleasure (Vintage), she writes chocolate isn't strictly seasonal, so it can be certainly be enjoyed year-round, but she emphasizes that chocolate lends itself much better to the fall and winter seasons. I agree, and therefore must share with you one of my favorite winter desserts, Jim Dodge's Bourbon Chocolate-Pecan Cake.
Jim Dodge's Bourbon Chocolate-Pecan Cake
I was given this rich dessert recipe from my dear friend, Janet Leutel, nearly a decade ago. Janet annually compiles a short softcover cookbook of her favorite recipes over the past year, and gives it as a special gift around the holidays.
This is a very rich, dense flour-less cake. Use good chocolate and cocoa powder. The "bourbon" ingredient is optional in this recipe. I generally make it without. Enjoy!
2 cups pecan halves
3/4 pound unsalted butter (divided)
12 oz. bitter or semi-sweet chocolate (divided)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup bourbon (optional)
Spread pecan halves on a baking sheet and toast in 350 degree oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Set aside and cool. Separate out 1/2 cup for decorating top of cake layer. Grind until coarse, 1 and 1/2 cups pecans in food processor, which will be added to the cake mixture later.
Cut circle of parchment to fit bottom of 9" spring form pan. Butter pan well, and line with parchment circle.
Melt 1/2 pound butter and 8 oz. chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water. Stir until very smooth and set aside to cool.
Mix sugar, cocoa, and eggs just until well combined. Add melted chocolate, stirring to combine. Add coarsely chopped 1 and 1/2 cups pecans, and stir in. Add bourbon if you are using it, as this point.
Pour batter into prepared spring form pan and place this pan into a larger pan with simmering water. Water level should come to 1/2 of spring form cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees in oven until cake is firm to the touch, about 50 minutes.
Cool cake on wire rack, and remove side of the pan. Leave parchment paper on and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (I like to refrigerate cake in spring form pan overnight).
Remove cake from refrigerator, and place upside down on wire rack, or serving dish. Peel off parchment paper and drizzle with glaze. Drizzle the sides, and then the top. Smooth with a spreader. Decorate the top of cake with remaining pecans.
4 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 pound unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until completely smooth. Cool about 5 minutes, before spreading on cake.
Please share if you have a traditional dessert you make every holiday. Please share if you are known for a signature gift you make for others each holiday.