Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Original Dobos tort - Dobostorta

Birthday… Huhh… My daughter turned 14! Can you believe that? I hardly can..
I have a young lady in the house instead of a kid. Scary, and it gets only worse... They will soon fly out of the nest before we notice! :(
For this special occasion I decided to bake 6 small “torts” rather than 1 big, we don’t eat more anyway. Well, I made a lot of head ache for myself with it, especially spreading the caramelized sugar on top. I find it so much easier to spread the caramel on a single cake layer rather than 6 small tort tops. 
The recipe below is the original recipe from Dobos C. József from 1885 and it is one of the most well known Hungarian delicacy's world wide. Though they say in the Wiki that the caramel layer keeps the tort from drying out, well, that's just simple b..it. If you put the caramel top on the cake long before serving, it will start soaking in the humidity from the cake layers and it will become porous, losing its shine and crunchy texture. So I advice you to assemble the cake in advance, even a day before, coated nicely with the cream, but put the top caramel layer on the tort only max couple of hours hours before serving.
Now that being said, I just kept the left over of the tort for a day, and the caramel looked great even after a day. However, I didn't put the torts in the fridge. Humidity will "kill" it for sure, but it seems without the extra humidity from the fridge will lasts perfectly.
Makes 16 medium slices of tort, 20 cm diameter (8 in).

Sponge-sheet recipe, makes six 20cm sponge cake layers
6 medium eggs (60g each)
100g sugar (makes about 1 humpy tbspoon/egg)
100g flour (makes about 1 humpy tbspoon/egg)
36g melted butter

The cream
4 medium eggs
200g powered sugar
235g unsalted butter
17g vanilla sugar
35g cocoa mass
35g cocoa butter
200g dark chocolate (60-65% cocoa)

I don't have either cocoa mass nor cocoa butter, so I just added an extra 50 g of extra dark chocolate (85%). For kids you might want to stick to the 65% cocoa chocolate, at least mine start complaining if it is too dark and bitter.
Sponge cake layers
Beat the egg yolks with about half of the icing sugar.
Melt the butter.
Mix the egg whites with the rest of the powered sugar and beat a not very hard foam. If you over-beat it will collapse before you can nicely spread it on the tray.
Carefully mix the two beaten egg yolks in the egg white foam, then lightly fold in the flour and last the melted butter.
Divided the batter into six parts and make 20 cm diameter circles on top of trays covered with parchment paper, or on buttered & floured trays (on they back!).
In a preheated oven to 210 C (410 F) bake for 10 min until light brown. Don't bake it too long or they will be too dry!

Place a 20cm template circle made from parchment paper on top and adjust them to perfect round if needed.

If you don’t have a large enough oven to bake them all at a time, which most of the people don't, I would advice to make the batter in three batches and bake only 2 cake layers at a time. While one batch is baking prepare the batter for the next. That's what I actually did..

When the cake layers are ready cover with a cloth, and prepare the cream.

Melt the chocolate over a steam bath, carefully not to spill water in the chocolate. Water is the worst enemy of the melted chocolate! Let it cool, but not harden. 
Meanwhile mix the butter with the vanilla sugar (or vanilla bean) until foamy. Set aside.
Lightly beat the 4 eggs, add the 200g sugar and warm it up, without boiling!, to about 85C. That's about when it is so hot that it feels burning for you finger if you stick it in the mixture, but as I said, it is not yet boiling. 
Turn off the heat, whisk the mixture until completely cool. Takes about 5-10 min.
Mix the egg-cream into the butter, adding small quantities at a time.
It will look like the cream "collapses", separates, but don't worry.
When smooth fold in the melted chocolate and you are ready to put your cake together.
Divide the cream into 6 portions, 5 will go in between the layers, and with the 6th you will cover the side of the tort. Don't assemble only 5!!! of the 6 layers.
Assemble the cake soon after you finish the cream, the soft, lightly warm cream will moisten the cake layers and make the cake more delicious. It is anyway a not so moist tort already, you don't wanna make it drier.

For the 6th layer you'll prepare caramelized sugar to coat.

Melt the sugar, only until very light brown. Pour in the middle of the cake layer, and with a knife or long and flat spatula spread the caramelized sugar evenly. If it hardens without you being happy with the smoothness, just put it in the oven at 100C and it will soften so you can adjust more.
With the back of the knife draw the lines where you will cut the caramel top making light grooves. You should make 8 to 16 slices. With the sharp edge of the knife cut the caramel layer into 16 slices, and cut the excess sugar off from the edges.

Decorate the side of the cake with ground almond or hazelnuts (however the original is undecorated, lightly coated with the chocolate buttercream), and place the top layer (caramelized) pieces nicely tight together to cover the tort. Enjoy!

OBS. Lessons I learned from my experience: don't over-bake the cake layers or it will be too dry, and you can start baking new ones :).
If you make smaller torts like I did, don't use the whole cream :), it will be too heavy. I think 2/3rds of the cream I added to the tort would have made a more harmonized flavor. Less is more..

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