On-The-Fly Dinner Party: Part 2.

Let me start with two things.

One: I work in a grocery store. Literally. My office is behind the meat department. I get to see people making sausage and grinding beef several times a day as I make the trek between my desk and the free coffee samples.

Two: I’ve been out of parchment paper for about three years now. For three years, every time I try to bake, I think to myself, “I should have picked up parchment paper.”

One might think that it would be relatively easy to pick up parchment paper at the store, before I head home. If you know me, you’ll know that that is clearly not my style.

So it was during the preparation for my first-ever flourless chocolate torte that I realized, once again, that I have no parchment paper. My heart sort of dropped. I had the recipe, the chocolate, the amaretto and the (thrift store) springform pan. But I didn’t have the freaking parchment paper. Therefore, my torte was destined for failure.



A quick google search informed me that a paper grocery sack would do the job, even though we weren’t sure what chemicals might be in the bag. I figured the Columbia Gas building in the back yard brought as much chemical exposure to my guests as a recycled paper bag would. So I went for it. (To my guests: if you start experiencing health problems, I reserve the right to talk to my lawyer. As soon as I find one.) Though it left a bit of a crease in the bottom of the torte, the grocery sack worked wonderfully.

Other almost-setbacks included:

• I didn’t have a roasting pan big enough to hold the springform pan, so I made do with my stepmother’s grandmother’s giant soup pot. (It had plastic handles that withstood the heat of the oven. Crazy.)

• Instead of using boiling water in the giant pot, I simply used warm water.

• I hadn’t noticed the “refrigerate overnight” part of the recipe, and made do with shoving the torte in the freezer for half an hour.


Despite me, it seems, the dessert worked. And it was good. Worth buying the bottle of amaretto good. Breakfast on Sunday morning good. This torte, my friends, comes with a happy ending.

Emeril’s Flourless Chocolate Tort
from Food Network
Serves 16

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 1/2 tablespoon
1 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup amaretto
8 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder, for garnish
Fresh raspberries, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Using 1/2 tablespoon butter grease a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with a parchment round. Cover pan underneath and along sides with foil and set in a roasting pan. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil.

3. Combine the chocolate, butter, and amaretto in a metal bowl set over simmering water or in the top of a double boiler. Melt the mixture, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes; reserve.

Meanwhile combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until frothy and almost doubled in volume, about 5 to 10 minutes. Fold 1/3 of egg mixture into chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula. Repeat this process 2 more times – until all of egg mixture has been folded into chocolate mixture.

4. Pour batter into prepared springform pan and place in the roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides. Bake until cake has risen slightly and edges are just beginning to set, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove cake from roasting pan and cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove foil, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Remove cake from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Remove springform pan sides, invert cake onto a large plate, and peel away the parchment paper from bottom. Reinvert cake on another large plate or serving platter and garnish with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder immediately before serving.

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One thought on “On-The-Fly Dinner Party: Part 2.

  1. Michael says:

    I do this constantly. Conveniently forget that part of a recipe that states the tort needs to chill/harden overnight and the like. That said, due to this I’ve found more and more that recipes are more like polite suggestions than hard and fast rules. Sure it might set up better if you chill it overnight, but it’s still ok to toss it in the freezer for a bit and stall guests with wine.

    Maybe this just fits my style of cooking in general. I like having the ability to wing it, knowing that as long as I get the basics right, my approximations and substitutions can often be improvements and that 1/3 cup can sometimes work as 1/2, or yes I can improve your recipe by substituting in melted butter for your olive oil.

    Yes, cooking is a science, but it’s a forgiving one. Small mistakes and tinkering create delicious sunday morning breakfasts.

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