Fran Bigelow's Deep Chocolate Torte
Fran Bigelow is the grand dame of American chocolate confection, and her shop in Seattle is a mecca for chocolate afficionados. She is famous for deluxe versions of popular standbys, like candy bars, made with pure Venezuelan chocolate and enhanced with cacao nibs, coffee beans, and candied orange peel. She also has a reputation for using the best sweet ingredients and delivering the deepest chocolate flavors - as in this rich flourless torte, which is a cross between an eggy pudding and a nonpuffy soufflé.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water and allow to melt completely.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Generously butter a 9-inch round regular or springform cake pan. Cut a 9-inch round of waxed paper and press it over the bottom of the pan.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and liqueur In a large heatproof mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring with a wooden spoon, until warm but not hot. Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the melted chocolate.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Carefully transfer the batter to the pan.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a straw or cake tester inserted into the torte at least 2 to 4 inches from the side comes out clean. The center should be just set; do not overbake.
Let cool to room temperature, remove from the pan, and peel off the liner. It is best served with a simple dusting of cocoa; accompaniments like unsweetened whipped cream or raspberry sauce are optional. If necessary, you can refrigerate the torte for up to I day, covered with plastic wrap, but bring to room temperature before serving.