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Chocolate-Pomegranate Torte

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Serves 12 to 14

  • To learn more, read:
    The Dark Side of Chocolate
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 96

For the best flavor and texture, make the cake and spread it with the jelly a day or two before serving. Glaze it on the day you serve it.

For the Cake:
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) softened unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces; more for the pan
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% or 72% cacao)
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
For the Pomegranate Jelly:
  • 1 medium Pink Lady or Braeburn apple
  • 1-1/2 cups pure unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 12 fresh or frozen cranberries
For the Glaze:
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% or 72% cacao), chopped medium fine
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 Tbs. honey or light corn syrup
  • Pinch table salt
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)
Make the Cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the sides of a 9x2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.

Finely grate 2 oz. of the chocolate and set aside. Coarsely chop the remaining chocolate and combine with the butter and 3 Tbs. water in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl in a skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar and the salt until thick and lightened in color.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. With the motor running, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating to stiff peaks, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Whisk the warm chocolate and the flour into the yolk mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the whites into the chocolate batter. Scrape the remaining whites into the chocolate mixture and sprinkle the grated chocolate on top. Fold together. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out smudged with a few moist crumbs, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto another rack. Remove the pan and parchment and invert the cake onto the first rack (it's normal for the cake to have a crusty exterior that may crack with handling). Let cool completely.

Make the Pomegranate Jelly:

Grate enough of the apple (including the peel) to yield 3/4 cup. In a medium saucepan, bring the grated apple, pomegranate juice, sugar, and cranberries to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, covered, until the apple is softened and the mixture has thickened a little, about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally at first and then constantly towards the end, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes.

With a rubber spatula, press the pulp through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl until you can't get any more juice out of the pulp. Scrape all of the juice clinging to the bottom of the strainer into the bowl and discard the pulp in the strainer.

Brush away any loose crumbs and easily detachable crusty pieces from the sides and top of the cake. Transfer the cake to a cardboard circle or tart pan bottom.

Stir the jelly to blend it, scrape it onto the cake, and spread it evenly over the top. Let the jelly cool until it's set, about 1 hour. At this point, the cake may be covered with an inverted cake pan, wrapped in plastic (the pan keeps the plastic from touching the cake), and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Make the Glaze:

Put the chocolate, butter, honey, and salt in a heatproof bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water. Stir gently until the chocolate melts and the mixture is perfectly smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 Tbs. cool water. Let cool to room temperature without stirring. If not using right away, cover and store at room temperature. Set the cake on a rack set over a baking sheet. With an offset spatula, spread 1/3 cup of the glaze around the sides of the cake and on top of the gel (be careful not to disturb the gel) to smooth the surfaces and glue on any crumbs. Re-warm the remaining glaze gently to 90°F in a skillet of barely simmering water—the glaze should have the consistency of thick, pourable cream.

Scrape all of the glaze onto the top of the cake. Spread the glaze over the top and all around the sides. For the shiniest glaze, work quickly and use as few strokes as possible. Scoop up any excess glaze from the baking sheet and use it to cover bare spots.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds (if using) and let the cake rest on the rack for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cake plate and let sit at room temperature until set, 15 to 30 minutes, or up to several hours before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): fat g 20; Fat Calories (kcal): 180; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 11; Protein (g): protein g 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 41; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 105; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 70; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Turned out dry and not like the picture.

The ganache was delicious, the pomegranate jelly was good but probably not worth the trouble, and the cake itself was on the dry side. I was expecting a dense, brownie-like torte, and this was too "cakey."

I have made this cake twice, to rave reviews! When I served it at Christmas dinner, my aunt called it "ten dollars-a-slice" cake. It was light and fluffy, with rich chocolate flavor and just enough pomegranate flavor to add a tangy dimension. Subtle and delicious! Everyone who took a bite moaned audibly :)

Make sure you get real pomegranate juice, I couldn't find any and the "coctail" with fructose and other juices never gelled, even when reduced. I found the cake a bit dry too.

Is 12 cranberries the correct quantity? I made this, and it turned out very tasty, but I feel that it might have been light on the jelly.

This cake is crazy good. The tartness of the pomegranate jelly is the perfect complement to bittersweet chocolate. (I used Scharffen Berger.) This recipe is totally worth the time it takes, in my book. As for the jelly cooking time mentioned in other reviews, I followed the timing in the recipe, and though the jelly did not gel while I was reducing it, it did gel a while after I put it on the cake.

I've made this at least ten times, per the requests of my family and friends. The last few times, and to the best reviews, I substituted a raspberry coulis instead of the pomegranate jelly: gently boil 2 cups of raspberries, a bit of lemon juice and a cup of sugar for around ten minutes, then strain the seeds through a mesh seive. This gives you a fabulous tasting, quick, rich jelly with the perfect consistency that pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate in the cake.

This recipe is very good, though not the best chocolate cake I have ever made. The cake was a bit dense and the pomegranate jam didn't come through as clearly as I might have liked. I would however make this cake again. One thing to keep in mind is that the jam does NOT take 5 minutes to cook down. It is more like at least 50 minutes--maybe a type-o. The jam is worth making; just be prepared that it will take a lot more time. The rest of the recipe seemed flawless as far as timing and technique went. The cake looked nearly as beautiful as the one in the picture too.

This recipe was excellent. The instructions were clear and the texture of the torte was FANTASTIC! I would highly recommend taking the easier (albeit less authentic) route of substituting premade pomegranate jelly or other preserve. It saved me SO much time! I took it to a party and it was an instant hit.

Excellent recipe, directions were easy to follow. Only difficulty was making the pomogranate jelly. Other than that it was a hit with our family, we made it twice for 2 birthdays.

EXCELLENT!! I have made it twice in the last two weeks and everyone loved it both times. It is quite elegant looking with the glaze and the pomegranate seeds, and extra seeds are a good idea to serve with it, as well as whipped cream.

Fantastic torte. Better the second day. Time consuming recipe to make but well worth the effort.

Tastes great, but very rich! It took me a long long time to cook the pomegranate/apple mix into a thick jelly.

I made this but because of time/ingredient limitations, I used trappist cherry preserves for the jelly on the top. It was far easier to make than I thought it would be, and the cake came out incredibly rich and moist.

5 Stars for taste, but the jelly took far too long to condense, so I would recommend just buying good-quality preserves. It received rave reviews from everyone!

I attempted this for a dinner party and it was a showstopper- some thoughts: 1) Try substituting frozen mixed berries for the cranberries/apples- I did this and the flavors were fantastic. 2) The chocolate cake- though delicious- was slightly dry. To remedy this- try experimenting with a smaller, higher cakepan-- possibly several individual-size cakepans, a small bundt pan, or a cupcake pan? Let me know how this works out for you...

This is a great recipe. I cooked it on pure convection and only for 20min maybe could have been a little less. Beautiful consistency. Be care after you put the final glaze on to step away and not retouch! Rave reviews from friends/ The perfect blend of flavours. Goes great with a french Maury.

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