Decadence in cubes
February 4th, 2009

How often do you come across highly addictive recipes? Recipes that make EVERYONE lick their fingers, rave and ask for a detailed step by step recipe after the very first bite? Doesn’t happen that often, does it? So here is the find of the year, wait don’t scream, I know, I know the year has just started, but when I was visiting my friend Hande’s blog and discovered her latest sweet creation, which she very aptly named Wedges of Decadence, I just felt the potential right then and there. “Decadence” certainly is a strong word, but sounds like the understatement of the century in context of this sweet sin, which holds the power to convert even the most persistent chocolate and caramel haters into the opposite. So better be warned, we’re talking serious business! You may need a license to bake!

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Meanwhile Hande’s original recipe has been adapted not only to fit my standard cake form (~26 cm/ ~10 inch in diameter), but also to my preferences, which means a softer crust, less spices and even more chocolate (hopefully Hande won’t abandon our friendship for doing so).

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My friends and neighbors had the chance to sample both versions and the outcome was round about 50:50, some preferred Hande’s slightly chewier, spicier original, some opted for my adaptation (which needs to be served straight from the fridge, at least if you ask me). Whatever your choice will be, you won’t regret it (maybe your hips will, but who listens to them anyway…).

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On a side note: The silver spoon you see on the very first picture is a lovely gift from a Viennese reader of my book. She saw the picture on page no.2 with all the silver cutlery and sent me this one, an old collectible from her mother, as a surprise. Thank you so much!

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Preheat the oven to 180°C (~355°F) and prepare the form (~26 cm/ ~10 inch in diameter): I usually cover the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper before I pull the ring around the bottom. Then I tear off any overlapping paper.

Mix together all ingredients for the crust except the water/creme fraiche. You can do this either by hand/with a pastry cutter or in a food processor on pulse function. You are aiming for a very crumbly dough, that doesn’t hold together very well. If the outcome is too dry, add a tbsp water or creme fraiche. Put the dough crumbs into the prepared baking form and gently press down to form an even bottom – no rim needed! Bake on middle level for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden around the edge. Take out of the oven and put aside. Keep the oven temperature at 180°C (~355°F).

Prepare the filling while the crust bakes: Put all ingredients for the filling into a medium saucepan, except the orange and nuts. Stir and bring to a boil. Wash the orange under hot water and pat dry, then use a fine grater to zest the orange. I find the aroma can be quite overpowering, therefor I use it very cautiously and add only little amounts at a time until I’m happy with the taste. Let the mixture simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and don’t forget to stir from time to time. Meanwhile coarsely chop the nuts. (Hande suggests toasting them in advance, which I often skip simply because of laziness, but this step can further increase flavor and crunchiness!)

Now cover an oven tray with another sheet of parchment paper and put the baking form with the prebaked crust onto it (this avoids a messy oven in case your baking form isn’t leak-proof – like mine). Distribute the chopped nuts in an even layer over the crust, then carefully pour the hot cream mixture over the nuts. Put the tray back into the oven at middle or 2nd from bottom level and bake for 25 minutes. The mixture will firm and gain a nice golden brown color. Take out.

Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate immediately after releasing it from the oven. 5 minutes later you can easily distribute the melted chocolate and create an even layer of chocolate coating with the back of a spoon. Run a knife around the pie and let cool off completely before releasing from the form (the baking form may look pretty used and have sticky residues, but nothing an extensive bath in a hot sink can’t solve). Tightly cover in foil and keep in the fridge, where it keeps up to a week. Cut into small cubes this goes perfectly well with a cup of tea or coffee. Consume in small doses only ;)

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Decadence in cubes

Recipe source: adaptation of Hande's recipe

Required time: prep. ~20 min., baking ~45 min.

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Ingredients:

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crust:

parchment paper

160g all-purpose flour

100g brown sugar

100g very cold butter

1 generous pinch of salt

optional: 1 tbsp cold water (or creme fraiche)

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filling:

250g heavy cream

75g brown sugar

75g white sugar

2 tbsp honey

25g butter

2-3 tbsp walnut liqueur (or cognac)

1/2 to 1 tsp fine sea salt

1 organic orange

100g walnuts

100g pecan nuts

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topping:

150g dark chocolate (or one half dark, one half milk chocolate), chopped

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