Chocolate Pecan Torte and Gold Brick Eggs
People who spent their childhoods in New Orleans have very fond memories, and allegiances to Elmer’s Easter egg products, (their regular candy bars shaped into Easter eggs for the holiday). My mother’s and uncle’s favorite was the Heavenly Hash Egg (similar to what the rest of the world knows as Rocky Road). I was partial to the Pecan Roll Egg, while the Gold Brick Egg has perhaps the strongest following.
After we moved to Los Angeles, my mother still had scouts who would send her these Easter eggs for her kids’ Easter baskets. She would sock them away in some cabinet or closet hidden well, she thought, behind a stack of towels or sheets, or such. One spring, when it came time to fill the Easter baskets, in spite of digging through the linen cabinet, she found that the Gold Brick eggs had completely disappeared. The story of the mysterious missing eggs persisted for many years to come, with Mom shaking her head at it all. What happened to the eggs had never been disclosed – until Christmas dinner this past year, that is, when my brother finally confessed to being the purloiner.
“Did you take them”, I asked.
“Of course”, he responded, only a tiny bit sheepishly.
I had been making Jim Dodge’s Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Torte for many years, when it dawned on me how much his torte (being chock full of pecans) is like Gold Bricks, rich milk chocolate bars also full of pecans. While Jim Dodge’s recipe is not made with milk chocolate, but a more intense dark chocolate, I realized that the third a cup of Bourbon in the recipe, could be replaced with the same amount of a cream liquor like Bailey’s Irish Creme to give it a more milky texture. And given that we have much better quality chocolates available to us now, than we did when I was a child, I think we can come up with an even better version of the original Gold Brick. Of course, there’s no accounting for the nostalgia factor, so if you still need your Elmer’s fix, the Elmer’s Heavenly Hash Eggs (6) & Gold Bricks Eggs (6) are available on Amazon.
Jim Dodge’s Pecan Bourbon Torte
Substitute the Bourbon for a cream liquor such as Bailey’s Irish Creme to give a more milk chocolately texture. Don’t be frightened by the amount of alcohol in the torte, btw. The alcoholic effects cook off during the baking. If you really want to, it can be omitted entirely, and the cake will still be delicious. the cake is also a good choice for Passover (since it’s flourless), if you don’t adhere to dairy kosher restrictions.
For the cake:
- 2 cups pecans
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 8 ounces bitter sweet or semisweet chocolate (semisweet, again, will result in a less intense chocolate flavor, and more like a Gold Brick)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 large eggs
- 1/3 cup Bourbon or cream liquor
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet, and toast them until fragrant, about 10 minutes, then set them aside to cool.
- Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of a 9 inch round cake pan. Butter the pan well, and line the it with the parchment, making sure it lies flat.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in the top of a double broiler placed over hot water. Stir until they are very smooth, then set aside to cool.
- Mix the sugar, eggs and cocoa powder together until just combined. Add the melted chocolate butter mixture, stirring to combine.
- Coarsely chop the nuts, then add 1 1/2 cups to the chocolate batter. Stir in the bourbon or cream liquor.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan inside a larger pan and pour hot water up to 2/3 ‘s the level of the outer pan. Bake until the cake is firm to the touch, about 45 minutes. The surface may be a little cracked – not to worry, it’s fine.
- Cool the cake completely on a wire rack, then turn it onto a cardboard cake round, leaving the parchment on. Wrap the cake in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.
For the glaze:
- 4 ounces bitter sweet or semisweet chocolate
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter
- Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double broiler. Stir until completely smooth, then allow it to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Place the cake upside down on a wire rack with a sheet of wax paper underneath to catch drips. Peel off the parchment paper, then drizzle the glaze over the cake, making sure it drips down and coats the sides. You may have to lift it some and tilt it to accomplish this. Smooth the glaze, judiciously, if necessary. Cover the sides of the cake with the remaining 1/2 cup of the nuts (I like to chop them more finely before this), by pressing them into the glaze gently with your hands. Refrigerate the cake until about a half-hour before serving.
Yield: 12-14 servings