Saturday, November 8, 2008

The squirrel in me

So here is the thing. I like to hoard food. I take huge comfort in seeing a well stocked freezer and pantry. As a child, I used to hide the chocolate chip cookies from my family. I needed to know that there was a stash of cookies someplace in case I needed one. Because when you need a chocolate chip cookie, you need it NOW. I liken myself to a squirrel storing up for the long winter ahead. You don’t want to run out of food because…..because……

Well, so the analogy fails here because in reality, I can always make more cookies, or buy more food. But sometimes, that doesn’t register to my squirrel I’m-stocking-up-for-a-never-ending-winter mind.

Mr. F. might have picked up on this tendency. This summer we got a huge amount of fresh cherries from a farm in West Virginia. He wanted to eat them, to savor them in their sun-kissed glory. I, on the other hand, was all like, “we need to make quarts of freezer jam and to freeze them whole for the dark, dreary winter ahead.” I told Mr. F. that he would thank me later when we pulled out our cherry preserves to spread on our multigrain pancakes or when I made delicious baked goods, popping with bright red when all around us is monotonically gray.

Yet, last week, he eyed the unopened bags of cherries and looked at me reproachfully. “I could have eaten these at their peak,” his look seemed to say, “and now they are just developing freezer burn.” He even tentatively suggested a recipe for which I could use them—a muffin recipe. Yes, he played dirty and tempted me with muffins—knowing my weakness for them. However, I have pretty much decided on the inaugural recipe, having made it early this summer for a colleague’s birthday. I just need to have or make an occasion to bake it.

Femme Fatal Torte

(o.k. that is my name for it. It is actually called something lame and informative like double chocolate cherry torte. Mine is so much better.)


1/2 cups pitted picked-over fresh tart cherries, halved (about 1 pint)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325° F. and butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, knocking out excess flour.

In a bowl stir together cherries, 1/4 cup sugar, and kirsch and macerate 15 minutes.

Cut butter into pieces and separate eggs. Coarsely chop bittersweet chocolate and in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring occasionally. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and cool mixture slightly. Stir in yolks, flour, and salt until combined well. Gently stir in cherries and chocolate chips until just combined.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat whites until they hold soft peaks and gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until whites just hold stiff glossy peaks. Stir half of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten and fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake torte in middle of oven 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering.

Cool torte in pan on a rack (top will fall slightly and crack). Run a thin knife around edge of torte and remove side of pan. Torte may be made 1 day ahead and kept, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at cool room temperature.

Serve torte with whipped cream.

I took this recipe from the epicurious website where it was originally posted. However, I gave it my own name, so I don’t think I am quite in violation of any copy write laws, right? *looks innocent*

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